Auto safety is a primary concern in Montana and across the nation. With the ongoing national challenges and people struggling to adapt, this has led to radical changes in how people drive. That has shown up in the auto accident statistics with a troubling spike in road fatalities throughout the United States. While the total number of collisions with injuries and fatalities for 2021 is not yet known, the first nine months of the year have been analyzed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, the Montana Department of Transportation released its own numbers for the state. Both should be concerning and lead to greater vigilance when heading out.
NHTSA numbers accrued through September show worrying rise in fatalities
The NHTSA says that there was a 12% rise in road fatalities through September 2021. According to the first assessments, in those nine months, around 31,720 people were killed in a collision. For 2020 during that same time, the total was approximately 28,325. This made 2021 the worst year based on those parameters since 2006. It is also the greatest percentage increase since statistics have been kept starting in 1975. The federal government is so concerned about the increase in fatalities that it is hoping the recently passed infrastructure law will have a positive impact on safety. Still, drivers behaved recklessly and violated the law for much of the past two years with fewer vehicles on the road and less law enforcement due to the crisis. This is a problem that is difficult to address.
Montana saw 240 road deaths in 2021
In Montana, there was also an increase in road fatalities. Overall, 240 people lost their lives in a road accident. This was more than the 213 who died in 2020 and the 184 who were killed in 2019. In 95 accidents, speeding was believed to be an issue. Drivers who had used alcohol played a role in 86 collisions. Drugs were believed to be a factor in 46. Twenty-four were motorcycle accidents; 12 were pedestrian-auto crashes; two were bicycle accidents; and five were ATV crashes.
While this research centered on fatalities, anyone who is involved in a motor vehicle accident can face a litany of problems even if they are fortunate enough to survive. Since the accident and the uncertain future can be so traumatic, people may be unaware of their rights or what to do in the aftermath. For example, medical expenses can be exorbitant with the medical costs, lost income and extended care that might be necessary. People who have no training or understanding with how to help a loved one who cannot care for him or herself will wonder what their options are. When there is a fatality, the problems are exacerbated. Thinking about how to move forward and concentrate on helping a loved one improve or to care for a family after an unexpected fatality can be complicated. Having advice is useful to determine a wise course of action and to take the necessary steps immediately.