According to an August 2021 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, an estimated 8,730 auto collision deaths occurred in 2021’s first three months. This was a 10.5 percent increase from the 7,900 deaths that occurred in 2020’s first three months. These fatality rate increases emerged despite driving declines. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there was a two percent decrease in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2021’s first three months. However, the fatality rate per one million VMT in that period increased from 1.12 in 2020 to 1.26 in 2021. The NHTSA reported that these early estimates suggested that drivers who stayed on the roads engaged in risky behavior, including not wearing seatbelts, excessive speeding, and driving while intoxicated.
NHTSA’s Countermeasures That Work report
The agency also announced that it released the 10th edition of its Countermeasures That Work report. This 641-page report endorsed systematic approaches to curbing auto collision fatalities and addressing the safety of everyone on the road. It covered intoxicated driving, distracted driving, cyclist safety, drowsy driving, pedestrian drivers, elderly drivers, seatbelts, child restraints, speed management, and younger drivers. The report looked at how these issues affect overall society. It also looked at potential strategies to address them.
GHSA’s 2020 pedestrian fatality report
On March 23, 2021, the Governor Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a report on 2020 pedestrian fatalities. It reported that pedestrian fatalities between 2010 and 2019 increased by 46 percent. The researchers concluded that the following contributed to this increase:
- The increase in SUV sales: Pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs between 2010 and 2019 increased by 69 percent. By contrast, the pedestrian fatality rate for passenger vehicles overall increased by 46 percent.
- Night driving: The time of day impacted pedestrian fatality rates. Nighttime pedestrian fatalities increased by 54 percent. By contrast, daytime pedestrian fatalities increased by 16 percent.
- Warm weather: Pedestrian presence and outdoor alcohol consumption were more prevalent in warmer weather.
- Race: According to data spanning 2015 to 2019, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) were overrepresented in pedestrian fatalities.
May 2021 GHSA addendum on its 2020 pedestrian fatality report
The GHSA’s May 2021 addendum estimated that there were 6,721 pedestrian fatalities in 2020. It showed that the rate increased by about five percent from 2019. The researchers also found that the pedestrian fatality rate per one billion VMT increased by 21 percent from 2019. The addendum also showed that fatality rates varied by state. Increases occurred in thirty-one states and the District of Columbia. There were triple-digit increases in Alaska, Rhode Island, Kansas, and Vermont. Decreases in occurred nineteen states. Pedestrian fatality rates in Massachusetts, West Virginia, Maine, Delaware, Hawaii, and Wyoming fell by more than 20 percent.
Recent pedestrian fatality verdicts and settlements
YEAR / STATE
CASE / INJURY SUMMARY
2021 – Georgia
$1,000,000 – Settlement
2021 – Texas
$2,324,000 – Verdict
2020 – Missouri
$325,000 – Settlement
2020 – Texas
$100,000 – Settlement
2020 – Oregon
$445,000 – Settlement
2019 – Pennsylvania
$50,000 – Settlement