Prior to 2020, National Safety Council (NSC) data showed that fatal motor-vehicle deaths decreased for three consecutive years, with 39,107 deaths on the road in 2019.
New preliminary semiannual estimates from the NSC gauge some 42,060 motor-vehicle deaths occurred in 2020, amounting to an 8% uptick from the previous year.
Data broken down by all 50 states and Washington, DC, show that South Dakota and the nation’s capital both observed a 33% spike in motor-vehicle deaths for 2020, recording 34 and nine more vehicular fatalities, respectively.
Vermont logged 32%, or 15, more motor-vehicle deaths than it did in 2019.
The mileage decline has been attributed to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and related mitigation measures putting fewer people on the roads daily.
The NSC’s newly-released data comes less than a month after a 130-car pileup in Texas that killed at least six people and injured dozens. The wreck is believed to have been caused by slick road conditions.
Texas observed a 9%, or 305-person, increase in motor-vehicle deaths for 2020, according to NSC estimates.
Minnesota also logged a 9% increase in preliminary deaths for 2020 than 2019, amounting to 31 more traffic deaths.
Of course, not all states saw increases in traffic deaths. Hawaii experienced a 20% decline in (or 22 fewer) motor-vehicle deaths and Wyoming observed a 13% decline in (or 19 fewer) traffic deaths.