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If you feel like there have been more car accidents than usual since the pandemic started, you are correct. The U.S. Department of Transportation has released the traffic fatality data for the first half of 2021 and it reflects a record-breaking increase. In fact, the data shows that over 20,000 drivers and passengers in the United States died due to roadway accidents in the first half of 2021 alone. This represents nearly a 20% increase over the same time period for the previous year, and the highest number in nearly 20 years. The Department of Transportation has labeled this a “crisis,” and is coming up with measures to reduce the risk of deaths of drivers on the road. 


Roadway Fatalities are Increasing in Missouri 


While this is clearly a problem nationwide, Missouri is not exempt from the effects. While the most recent traffic data for Missouri is from 2020, it reflects a 12% increase in traffic fatalities since 2019, a significant and notable increase for this state. Importantly, the data also indicates that speeding was a factor in approximately 40% of roadway fatalities. In some districts, such as St. Louis, that percentage was closer to 50%. It is no secret that speeding and reckless driving have been on the rise since the pandemic began in 2020, but it can be jarring to see the detrimental effect that can have on Missouri drivers, resulting in nearly 1,000 lives lost in 2020 alone. 


Not Just Fatalities are Increasing 


The traffic data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation also reflects that instances of speeding, reckless driving, and driving without a seat belt, which all spiked at the beginning of the pandemic, have remained much higher than usual. Experts have attributed this increase to the opportunity to drive fast presented by unusually empty roads at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as the reduced police presence. Drunk driving and reckless driving have also increased as substance abuse, financial instability, and unemployment all peaked as well. The correlation is impossible to ignore, but it is also important to note that these driving violations have remained high despite the country’s economic situation improving. 


What is Being Done? 


The Department of Transportation has emphasized safer roads and highways as well as lower and more stringently enforced speed limits as starting points for tackling the roadway fatality crisis that has evolved over the past two years. Individual states, such as Missouri, have also increased their police presence on roadways and are cracking down on enforcement. Since speeding is a contributing factor in nearly half of all roadway fatalities, it is a good place to start remedying the issue. It is also important to remember that tickets will be more frequently enforced when you are driving. 


Contact the Johnson Law Firm 


If you or a loved one have been injured or even killed due to a vehicle accident in Missouri, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm want to hear from you. Contact the Johnson Law Firm today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you get the compensation to which you are entitled.