While electrical contractors can end up putting their lives at risk on the job, it is also possible for them to do the same while driving to and from job sites. In September, the National Safety Council (NSC) released preliminary estimates showing a 16% increase in motor vehicle deaths for the first six months of 2021, as more people began to hit the roads again. During this period, NSC estimates there were more than 21,400 fatalities on U.S. roadways.
“This increase is a deadly trend that started last year during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and negates more than 15 years of progress in preventing death on U.S. roads,” said the NSC in its release.
At the end of 2020, NSC estimates indicated that 42,000 people may have died on the roads. These numbers indicate a 24% rise in the fatality rate, while the number of miles driven actually decreased 13%. Through the first six months of 2021, the fatality rate climbed another 3%.
Some states in particular saw significant increases in traffic deaths. The eight states with the greatest increases were: South Dakota (51%), Oregon (51%), Minnesota (41%), Idaho (39%), Nevada (38%), Utah (36%), Vermont (33%) and Tennessee (30%).
However, some states experienced decreases: Maine, Kansas, Alaska, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Wisconsin.
“Our roads are becoming riskier not only each day but each year,” said Mark Chung, vice president, roadway practice area at NSC. “We need to help each other in making the roads in our communities safer for all users. If you witness unsafe driving behaviors, say something if you are able, and possibly save someone from losing their life.”