NSC: Motor vehicle fatality rates up a ‘staggering’ 23.5% in May

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Photo: Rich Legg/iStockphoto

Itasca, IL — Preliminary estimates released July 21 by the National Safety Council show that, for the third month in a row, U.S. drivers “were at a higher risk of dying from a motor vehicle crash,” based on May data from all 50 states.

At a time when the country should be reaping a safety benefit from less traffic, the roads are riskier. The fatality rate per miles driven in May jumped a staggering 23.5% compared with the previous year, despite far less traffic on the roads.

Further, employers are sending employees back to work, meaning commutes are resuming.

“As motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities, transportation safety should be integral to every organization,” Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of NSC, said in a July 21 press release. “An employer’s reopening strategy is an opportunity to emphasize and reiterate the need for safe streets, as well as safe workplace transportation. Employers can make a real difference in improving safety on our roadways, helping to protect their employees, as well as other road users.”

NSC urges drivers to:

  • Obey speed limits, even if the roads are clear and traffic is light.
  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up; designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation; get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue; and drive attentively, avoiding distractions.
  • Follow state and local directives and stay off the roads if officials have directed you do to so.
  • Be aware of increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic, particularly in urban areas. Conversely, pedestrians and bicyclists should remember that streets are getting congested again, and vulnerable roadway users need to be careful.