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Why are motor vehicle accident fatalities on the rise?

If you have been involved in a an SUV or car accident in the Tampa Bay area call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez at 813-755-9500
Car Accident Deaths

Many factors go into the increase of motor vehicle accident fatalities, but it coincides largely with a steep increase in sales of SUVs, pickup trucks and vans, which accounted for 78% of new U.S. vehicle sales in 2022, according to Motorintelligence.comPedestrian and cyclist deaths increased by 64% since 2011, to an estimated 8,413 in 2022.

How Many Car Deaths Occur in the US every year?

In 2021, 39,508 fatal motor vehicle crashes occurred in the United States, in which 42,939 deaths occurred.

Have Motor Vehicle Accident Fatalities Increased in the last decade?

Car-related fatalities in the U.S. increased over the last decade with pedestrians and cyclists increasing over 60% between 2011 and 2022.

Likely because of vehicle safety improvements, seat belt laws and other changes, fatal crashes in the U.S. trended downward for decades, hitting a low of 29,867 in 2011. But that trend reversed in the last decade. Government estimates of fatal crashes in 2022 show a 43% increase to 42,795 — partially thanks to increases in speeding and drunk driving and decreases in seatbelt use. Fatal crashes also increased as a percent of total miles driven. 

Did Motor Vehicle Fatalities Increase or Decrease 2022?

2022 estimates, released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are that 42,795 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes or about 0.3% decrease compared to 2021 (42,939 fatalities). In other words, relatively flat.

What Factors Are Contributing to the Increase of Motor Vehicle Accident Fatalities?

The design of these vehicles may be posing visibility problems for the drivers. For example, more challenging safety standards for rollovers have required vehicles to improve the strength of the pillars that support the roof.  Also, the height of the newer SUVs increased, especially the hood. 


An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study of crashes with pedestrians at intersections found that the vehicles most likely to be involved in left-turn crashes were SUVs and pickups, suggesting “they might be having a harder time seeing some of those pedestrians,” said Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “We don’t know exactly what’s going on with the increase in pedestrian fatalities. It certainly seems like the increase in bigger vehicles is contributing to it,” said Cicchino.


Nearly all new GM vehicles come equipped with automatic emergency braking, and cameras are getting better at seeing pedestrians at night, when the majority of those fatal crashes occur.

That is in line with an NHTSA proposal that would require new cars and light trucks to have automatic emergency braking able to detect pedestrians, including at night, within three years.

Advances in that technology promise to help compensate for blind spots, but safety experts say it is only part of a solution that requires infrastructure changes, speed limit enforcement and even changes to vehicle design.

How Many Florida Deaths Were From Fatal Crashes?

3,451 motor vehicle accidents were fatal in Florida in 2021 and this caused 3,737 deaths.


State Population Vehicle miles traveled (millions) Fatal crashes Deaths Deaths per 100,000 population Deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
Florida 21,828,069 217,566 3,451 3,737 17.1 1.72

How Many Hillsborough County Car Accidents Involved Death?

According to the Florida Department of Health, the 2021 death count for Hillsborough County is 253 auto accident deaths.  The deaths from motor vehicle crashes include any deaths of motor vehicle occupants injured in transport accidents.  In 2021, the age-adjusted rate per 100,000 population of Deaths From Motor Vehicle Crashes (All) in Hillsborough County was 16.0 compared to Florida at 17.0.  A breakdown of the last 20-years for Hillsborough County is below:

Reducing motor vehicle crash deaths was one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century for the US. However, more than 32,000 people are killed and 2 million are injured each year from motor vehicle crashes nationally. 

Are High Hoods Contributing to an Increase Pedestrian Accidents with Passenger Vehicles?

While there has been less research on blind spots directly in front of passenger vehicles, Consumer Reports found in 2021 that high hoods obstructed driver views of pedestrians. Meanwhile, a January 2023 report from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center determined “the increasingly large blind zones in SUVs and pickups have been associated with fatal ‘frontover’ crashes,” where people are run over by slow-moving vehicles.  Like in parking lots.

The Volpe Center, which works to address the nation’s most pressing transportation challenges, recently collaborated to produce a web application called Visibility in Elevated Wide vehicles (VIEW).  VIEW is a low-cost web application used to create a database of vehicle blind zones and it showed that as many as eight elementary school children could stand shoulder-to-shoulder in front of a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado without being visible to the driver.

“Many studies have shown that larger vehicles like SUVs and pickups are more likely to kill or seriously injure pedestrians and cyclists when they’re involved in a crash,” she said, noting that large vehicles are more likely to strike people in the head and vital organs, rather than the legs.

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Tampa Auto Accident Injury Lawyer | Martin J Hernandez, Esq.

If you have been injured in any kind of accident, your personal injury lawyer with the law firm of Martin J. Hernandez will guide you every step of the way. Call or Text us now at 813-755-9500

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