Over the past year, we’ve been driving less and less as many people are working from home and taking fewer trips, whether they be for vacation or work purposes. However, those open roads out there have seemingly tempted the people that are driving on them to take more risks, which actually caused vehicle fatalities to rise in 2020, according to new data from the National Safety Council (NSC).
The NSC found that motor vehicle deaths rose 8 percent last year as 42,060 people died in vehicle crashes. When adjusted to account for the number of miles driven, that percentage grows significantly, as the fatality rate rose 24 percent – the biggest increase we’ve seen in almost 100 years.
The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) has not yet released its data for 2020, but preliminary results through the first nine months of 2020 show similar results, with deaths and death rates rising considerably. Both the NSA and the NHTSA did note that it’s too early to speculate what caused this uptick, but NSC president and CEO Lorraine Martin cited risky behavior as a contributing factor.
“And we know what those risky driving behaviors are, even though we haven’t done all the analysis of these specific crashes,” Martin said. “We know it’s speeding. We know it’s driving without a seatbelt. And we know it’s driving impaired…and distracted.”
While there isn’t much automakers can do to curb these risky behaviors, this alarming trend does make vehicle safety more important than ever. For its part, Ford has been hard at work developing autonomous vehicle technology, which it believes will have a significant impact on both vehicular accidents and deaths.
Ford has also been implementing a host of connected vehicle services to share data and help cities tackle vehicle-related problems. This includes technology that allows vehicles to “talk” to bikes and scooters, and Ford is even sharing this data with other automakers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo in an effort to improve road safety for everyone.