Reckless driving may be on the rise in Oklahoma and across the entire country. Federal government data shows that there has been a severe increase in car accident fatalities in recent years. Analysts say that the spike began during the lockdowns in 2020, despite fewer cars on the roads.
What the numbers show
The most recent data shows that there were 20,160 car accident fatalities during the first half of 2021. This number is 18.4% higher than the first half of 2020, which was already a bad year for traffic fatalities. The data from 2021 represents the highest six-month car accident fatality rate since 2006 and the highest increase year-over-year since 1975.
Reckless driving behavior
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, is blaming reckless driving behavior for the dramatic increase in traffic fatalities. According to the NHTSA, behavioral research indicates that people are now more likely to speed and travel without a seat belt than they were before 2020.
To prevent serious car and truck accidents, the NHTSA has urged drivers to avoid distractions and aggressive driving while behind the wheel. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called the high car accident fatality rate a crisis that we cannot accept as simply a part of everyday life.
Staying safe on the road
Sometimes, just knowing that roads are more dangerous can help drivers to make smarter decisions behind the wheel. Remember to wear your seat belt, avoid unnecessary drives and watch out for distracted or aggressive drivers. While we can’t prevent other drivers from making mistakes, we can mitigate some dangerous situations by staying cognizant.