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Delaware’s High Fatal Car Accident Rate Is Part of a National Deadly Crash Trend

Roadside memorial at the site of a fatal car accident in Delaware.

Over the last two years, fatal car accidents have skyrocketed in Delaware and across the U.S.

A surge in fatal car accidents killed nearly 43,000 people in 2021, according to a new federal estimate. The deadly trend is being described as a "crisis" by top traffic and safety officials. After about 30 years of declining roadway deaths, the numbers shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic. As people stayed home to quarantine, studies suggest that negligent drivers used less busy roads as an excuse to let their good driving habits slip.

Now, the U.S. is seeking a way to reduce fatal and injury-causing accidents. The federal response includes the National Roadway Safety Strategy and the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending package. The infrastructure law includes grants through the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program to develop roads that consider all road users like pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists, and motorcycles.

Fatal car accidents in Delaware and Sussex County

Delaware is among the states with the highest fatal crash rates. In 2020, more than 110 people died in fatal Delaware auto accidents. That's a rate of 1.39 fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The national fatality rate that year was 1.34.

Meanwhile, there have been multiple fatal car accidents recently in Sussex County, including:

  • A woman died from injuries suffered in a Hardscrabble Road intersection accident in Georgetown, apparently caused when the other driver failed to stop for a stop sign.
  • Another failure-to-stop accident turned fatal on Atlanta Road at Federalsburg Road near Bridgeville.
  • A man died in a four-car crash on Lewes-Georgetown Highway near Lewes.

To reduce roadway fatalities, Delaware has stepped up safety awareness campaigns and increased police enforcement of speeding and DUI laws.

U.S. fatal crash report highlights

Even though the fatal injury rate has been rising since the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHTSA report was still a bombshell. The number of people killed on U.S. roadways jumped up 10.5 percent between 2020 and 2021. That's the largest one-year percentage increase since the nation launched FARS and began tracking fatal car accident data in 1975. The report digs deep into the data to determine where the increases are happening as well as contributing factors. Here are some report highlights that show the year-to-year (2020-2021) percentage increase in accidents involving specific groups or actions.

  • Multi-vehicle crashes went up by 16 percent
  • Urban roads - 16 percent
  • Among drivers 65 and older - 14 percent
  • Pedestrians - 13 percent
  • Heavy trucks (e.g., semi-trucks, tractor-trailers) - 13 percent
  • Motorcycles - 9 percent
  • Bicyclists - 5 percent
  • Speeding - 5 percent
  • Alcohol - 5 percent

Whether it's on a highway, in a crosswalk, or anywhere else, fatal car accidents are always devastating. While no amount of money can bring back a loved one, victims have recourse through the civil justice system. That's why it's in your interest to talk to a car accident lawyer about your legal rights and options after a crash.

Car accident attorneys serving Sussex County since 1983

At the Law Office of Edward C. Gill, we treat our clients like family and help them pursue the justice and financial compensation they're entitled to. Our attorneys know how to build strong cases that have been proven to get real results, and we understand what it takes to win in Delaware.

If you were injured or a loved one died in a crash in Sussex County, contact us today for a free and confidential case consultation with an experienced Georgetown car accident lawyer. See what our combined 80-plus years of legal experience can do for you.

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