Despite advances in vehicle safety features and crackdowns on things like drunk driving, recent statistics show that traffic accident fatalities in Georgia, South Carolina, and elsewhere in the United States have reached a 16-year high.
National traffic accident trends
The latest available report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that there were more than 42,000 deaths caused by traffic accidents in 2021. That statistic reflects a 10.5% increase over numbers from the previous year. It’s also the highest rate of deaths on U.S. highways since 2005. Those increases were demonstrated across all categories of motor vehicle accidents, including:
- 13% higher rates of pedestrian-involved collisions
- 7.9% increase in speeding and other reckless driving incidents
- 14% more drunk driving accidents
However, one contributing factor that wasn’t as prevalent in 2005 as it was in 2021 is distracted driving-related motor vehicle accidents. Those rose by 12%. Overall, more than 3,500 people were killed in 2021 because at least one participant was either texting or talking on a mobile device while they were driving.
Reasons for the rise in traffic fatality rates
Some studies point to an increase in distracted driving as a reason for higher traffic fatality rates. Although mobile devices have existed since the 1990s, they were not as widely used. Nowadays, people at all levels of society are dependent on them, and many cars are built to be used with cellphones.
Not paying attention to the road is dangerous, but a whopping 80% of motorists admit to using smartphones in some manner while they were driving. The practice continues despite laws against using hand-held devices while operating a vehicle.
There are many ways that motorists can help decrease the number of car accidents that occur yearly, such as abiding by the posted speed limit, only driving while sober and never using your cellphone while you’re driving. If everyone made little changes in their behaviors, it could have a real impact on accident statistics.