The numbers are startling. The fact that U.S. motor vehicle fatalities surged more than 18% in the first half of this year compared with 2020 confirms the reckless behavior of certain motorists on our roads. The period also marked the deadliest first six months for a given year since 2006.
An estimated 20,160 people died on U.S. roads in the first half of this year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The number represents an increase of 3,140 compared with the same time in 2020.
The cause: unsafe road behavior
What is happening? With coronavirus lockdowns turning certain Americans stir crazy, people have jumped into their cars, engaging in unsafe behavior such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt, reckless driving and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to the U.S. Transportation Department.
In response to these recent findings, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said his department in January will introduce a comprehensive plan to reduce road-related deaths and serious injuries.
Pandemic may be a factor
What those plans are remains to be seen, but in the meantime, here are some actions that drivers can take:
- Drive defensively: Assume the worse from other drivers. When you anticipate driving errors, you may reduce the chances of any traffic incidents.
- Do not engage with an aggressive driver: This could lead to a road rage incident.
- Steer clear of erratic drivers: Their actions are a potential sign that they may be under the influence of alcohol and drugs. A crash may be unavoidable.
- Wear your seat belt: Encourage your passengers to do the same.
One theory for the recent risky driving behavior is that with fewer drivers on the road during the pandemic, motorists sensed that law enforcement was less likely to issue tickets. Some drivers seem to believe the roads have become a free-for-all.
Decreasing your chances of a crash
Developments like this give U.S. motorists much to think about. They must understand that the increase in reckless road behavior also increases their chances of encountering a reckless and negligent driver. Remain alert, stay calm, and follow traffic laws along with the use of common sense. Your chances of getting into a crash will diminish.