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You are here News Domestic (USA) ‘Deadly step backwards’: US traffic deaths soar to highest total in 16 years

‘Deadly step backwards’: US traffic deaths soar to highest total in 16 years

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Traffic deaths increase

Nearly 43,000 people were killed on US roads last year, the highest number in 16 years, as Americans returned to the roads after the coronavirus pandemic forced many to stay at home.

The 10.5% jump over 2020 numbers was the largest percentage increase since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began its fatality data collection system in 1975.

Exacerbating the problem was a persistence of risky driving behaviors during the pandemic, such as speeding and less frequent use of seat belts, as people began to venture out more in 2021 for out-of-state and other road trips, analysts said.

The transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, said America faced a crisis on its roads.

“Our nation has taken a dangerous and deadly step backwards in traffic safety and impaired driving,” said Alex Otte,national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who urged strong public-private efforts akin to the seat belt and air bag public safety campaigns of the 1990s to stem reckless driving. “More families and more communities are feeling the crushing magnitude of this crisis on our roads.”

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