20,160 car accident deaths in 1st half of 2021, highest total since 2006: 5 things to know

An estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle traffic accidents in the first half of 2021, according to statistical projection data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Five things to know:

1. The motor vehicle fatalities are the highest number reported during the first half of the year since 2006.

2. Deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021 were 18.4 percent higher than the death toll for the first half of 2020, at 17,020 fatalities. 

3. The half-year spike was the highest six-month percentage increase recorded since NHTSA began tracking data in 1975.  

4. The projected 11,225 fatalities during the second quarter of 2021 represents the highest number of second-quarter fatalities since 1990 and highest quarterly percentage change — 23.1 percent — in recorded history. 

5. Speeding, distracted driving, and drugs and alcohol may play a contributing role.  

"This is a crisis," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in an Oct. 28 statement. "We cannot and should not accept these fatalities as simply a part of everyday life in America."

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