The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates total motor vehicle deaths for 2021 increased 9% over 2020 and that mileage rebounded by 11% from the low numbers seen during 2020 at the peak of the COVID-19 lockdowns, according to a report released this morning.
That projection is 3 points below last month’s traffic fatality projection released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and reported here. NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) provides statistical projections for traffic fatalities nationwide, looking at the first nine months of the year in this report that provides an early estimate of motor vehicle traffic fatalities.
NHTSA projected traffic fatalities increased by 12% for the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period for 2020, marking the biggest percentage increase in the history of the NHTSA fatality reporting process.
NHTSA’s 12% increase is based on an estimated 31,720 people killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide in the first nine months of 2021 compared to 28,325 killed in the first nine months of 2020. That is the highest number of fatalities for nine months since 2006.
NSC estimates 46,020 motor vehicle deaths for all of 2021 compared to its 2020 estimate of 42,339 and its 2019 estimate of 39,107. The estimate from 2019 to 2021 is an 18% increase.
NSC’s report includes additional data including age group comparisons, type of crash and crashes by time of day and day of the week. It also includes a comparison of the NSC and NHTSA estimates.