Traffic deaths in 2021 reached highest level in 16 years, NHTSA estimates

Last year's number is a 10.5% increase from 2020

Updated: May 18, 2022 - 1:09pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The number of U.S. traffic deaths in 2021 was the most in 16 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The federal agency in its report Tuesday estimated 42,915 such fatalities in 2021, continuing a trend in recent years.

Last year's number is a 10.5% increase from 2020.

The largest increases in deaths were reported in multi-vehicle crashes (16%), on urban roads (16%), rural interstate roads (15%), and among pedestrians (13%), according to CNN

U.S. roadways have been deadlier since the pandemic was declared in 2020.

Pedestrian, bicyclist deaths and hit-and-run fatalities also have increased in recent years.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg described the numbers as a "crisis" situation.

The NTSHA has in recently focused on designing safer roads and plans to propose changes to vehicle safety features.