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Soaring U.S. traffic deaths will be subject of ‘exceptionally timely’ House hearing

People outside cars are especially vulnerable.

The number of pedestrians killed in 2021 jumped 13 percent to 7,342, the highest number since 1981, while the number of people on bicycles killed rose 5 percent to 985, the highest number since at least 1975, NHTSA said.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety urged Congress to work “to prevent traffic fatalities by minimizing roadway conflicts and reducing crash forces when they do occur results” by “reducing speeds, road safety infrastructure improvements and better post-crash management.”

It also wants the NHTSA to set new rules requiring “minimum performance standards for advanced driver assistance systems and requirements for adaptive beam headlights, improved hood and bumper standards.”

In January, the Transportation Department released a strategy designed to cut traffic deaths. “We face a crisis on our roadways,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

U.S. traffic deaths surged after pandemic lockdowns ended in 2020 as more drivers engaged in unsafe behavior. Traffic deaths are now up 18 percent over pre-pandemic 2019 levels, while driving has now returned to 2019 levels.

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