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Traffic Safety Trends for 2021A variety of changes to the ways drivers operate their vehicles are expected for 2021. Legislative changes are also expected. Some of the changes are related to the COVID-19 pandemic; some to trying to reduce speeding accidents and drunk-driving accidents. More changes will be due to a new Presidential administration in Washington including a new Department of Transportation Secretary.

According to Car and Driver, nearly 35,000 people die in traffic accidents each year and about 3 million are injured in vehicle crashes in the United States. Some of the issues various organizations and government officials are expected to address or consider in 2021 include:

Drops and spikes in traffic fatality numbers

A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that traffic deaths in 2020 declined, from 2019, during the first half of 2020 – in large part due to fewer drivers on the road. The bad news is that the fatality rate (drivers killed per 100 million vehicles traveled) increased in the atter half of the year. The increase is in part due to drivers taking more risks, such as not wearing their seatbelts, speeding, and driving while intoxicated.

A Speed Management Pilot Program

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) announced a rural and urban program will be implemented in 2021 to help stop drivers who speed. The program will likely emulate the “Click It or Ticket” seatbelt program. Other parts of the program will include making roads narrower or adding pavement markings that encourage drivers to slow down. Additional options include speed bumps, radar and lidar, and other safety measures.

Seizure of vehicles by a state or region’s most dangerous drivers

New York City implemented a program in 2020 that gives NY City officials the right to seize vehicles “driven by the state’s most reckless drivers until they complete a safety course.” Drivers with 15 or more school speed camera violations or 5 or more red-light camera violations – during a prior 12-month period – will be targeted. Drivers across the country should anticipate many more speed cameras, especially near schools.

Drunk driving legislation regarding ignition interlock devices

Two bills/laws will be considered which aim to reduce drunk driving. The proposed legislation was initiated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The laws require that the NHTSA require that all new cars be built with a blood-alcohol test system (an IID system) to prevent a vehicle from being started or operated by a drunk driver. The two laws are:

  • The HALT Act. This bill, introduced in the US House in 2019, directs the US Department of Transportation to add alcohol detection devices with an IID capability to the country’s Motor Vehicle Safety Standards requirements. The bill requires that at least 1,500 government fleet vehicles install these devices by the end of the fiscal year 2022.
  • The RIDE Act (Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019) will likely be introduced in the Senate in 2021. The law also calls for “in-vehicle anti-drunk-driving technology.”

A New Department of Transportation Secretary

Pete Buttigieg was approved by the US Senate (by a vote of 86-13) for the position of Secretary of the US Department of Transportation. The former South Bend, Indian mayor is likely to focus on traffic, infrastructure, and road safety. He’s “expected to include a national Vision Zero strategy to reduce or eliminate traffic casualties, a focus on bicycle and pedestrian safety, rural-road safety investments, and increased funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program.”

At Gainsberg Law P.C., our car, truck, and motorcycle accident lawyers aggressively work to hold drivers, vehicle owners, and manufacturers accountable for the injuries they cause. We file wrongful death cases on behalf of families when a loved one is killed in an accident. We file personal injury cases for survivors – where we demand compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost income, and other damages. We work to settle your claims but we’re always ready to try your case in court. To discuss your vehicle accident claim with a skilled Chicago attorney, call us at 312.600.9585 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.