From January to June 2022, 20,175 people lost their lives in road accidents across the United States, official sources learned on Monday. This is the highest number of traffic fatalities over this period in the country since 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Road deaths jumped after the end of the confinement linked to the coronavirus pandemic. During the pandemic, American roads were less congested, which made many motorists feel that police were less likely to issue tickets, experts say, which likely led to riskier behavior on the roads.
NHTSA research indicates that during the lockdown, incidents related to speeding and traveling without wearing a seatbelt were more numerous than before the pandemic.
In 2021, the number of pedestrians killed jumped 13% to 7,342, a record since 1981. The number of people on bicycles killed rose 5% to 985, the highest figure since at least 1980, according to NHTSA.
Earlier this month NHTSA chief Steve Cliff left the federal government after taking another job in California. Since then, the agency has been led on an interim basis by its general counsel, Ann Carlson.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters last week that the Biden administration is “actively working” on selecting a new head for NHTSA.