The Maryland Department of Transportation reports the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities on our state’s highways and roadways continues to grow. According to Zero Deaths Maryland, a public safety program of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), car crash deaths are expected to surpass 600 fatalities for 2023 — the highest number of roadway fatalities in decades.
Last year, our Maryland personal injury law practice saw an increase in motor vehicle accident cases. This is in spite of people still working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we’d expect fewer motorists crowding highways commuting to and from their workplaces.
Zero Deaths Maryland reported 544 motor vehicle crash fatalities for 2022, including 339 drivers, 64 passengers, 128 pedestrians, 11 bike or pedacyclists, and 2 unknown. This figure is down from 563 traffic accident deaths in Maryland in 2021. However, in 2020, more people died in automobile crashes here (573 deaths) than in previous years, resulting in an overall 7.1-percent increase in traffic accident fatalities for Maryland.
Nationally, motor vehicle accident fatalities since the start of the pandemic have increased to levels not seen in many years, reversing a positive trend toward fewer deaths on our roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021 — a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020 and the highest number of U.S. motor vehicle accident deaths since 2005.
So what is going on here? Traffic safety experts aren’t entirely sure.