2021 saw a record number of traffic fatalities in the United States. The rise has become so concerning that transportation leaders are calling it a crisis. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 31,720 people died in traffic accidents in the first 9 months of 2021, an increase of approximately 12% from the 28,325 fatalities in the first nine months of 2020. This is the highest number of fatalities since 2006.
Illinois fared even worse than the national average, showing an 18.4% increase in traffic fatalities, with 993 people dying in car accidents in the first 9 months of 2021 compared to 839 during the same months in 2020. In total, more than 1350 Illinoisians died in traffic accidents in 2021, the highest number since 2005.
One of the reasons for the increase in fatalities was an 11.7% increase in miles traveled over 2020, as well as declining seatbelt use.