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Why is 2021 such a dangerous year on the roads?

Drivers picked up bad habits last year, and as a result, are dying at an alarming rate. Those are the findings of a new report from the U.S. Department of Transport (USDOT).

There was less traffic on the roads during 2020. There were also fewer police officers pulling people over, as they were busy with other issues. Many drivers, therefore, decided it was OK to flout the rules.

Now that traffic levels have risen, there has been a massive increase in fatal crashes. More than 20,000 people died in collisions between January and June 2021.

You could explain the 18% increase compared to figures for July to December 2020 by saying that far fewer people than usual were driving last year, so the rise reflects a return to normal. Yet how do you explain that 2021 half-year figures are the highest since 2006? How is the increased use of technology such as seat belts, airbags, anti-lock braking systems and crumple zones not keeping us safer than 15 years ago?

Human error is to blame for most crashes

While traffic is heavier than in 2006, much of the blame must go to road design and drivers. While many local authorities are now taking measures to protect cyclists and pedestrians, for years, their priority was enabling cars to move about faster. The faster cars travel, the more likely it is that crashes result in death or severe injury.

If you are in a car crash, the technology installed in your car can only do so much. If everyone drove more responsibly, there would be less need to rely on technology to avoid a collision or limit the injuries you suffer. Until then, there will always be a need to claim compensation in a crash from a driver who was at fault.