Traffic Crashes and Fatalities Soared in Early 2021

Preliminary data reveals that the number of fatal car crashes spiked in the first several months of 2021, both nationally and throughout the Portland area. Risky behaviors like speeding, driving while intoxicated, and failing to wear a seatbelt may be partially to blame.

Preliminary data reveals that the number of fatal car crashes spiked in the first several months of 2021. While this trend occurred across the U.S., Portland experienced an even higher rise in auto accidents during these months. What factors are driving this increase? Let’s take a look at what the data has indicated so far.

National Traffic Accident Trends

According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated “8,730 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the first three months of 2021.” This amounts to a 10.5 percent increase from the agency’s projected 7,900 traffic fatalities. Interestingly, as driving declined overall during this period, more traffic accidents occurred, which tended to be more serious or even fatal. NHTSA notes that this trend has continued since 2020, a year in which traffic deaths rose by seven percent—the most since 2007.

Portland Accidents Mirroring National Trends

In the Portland area, traffic crashes continue to follow the national trend. Traffic crashes increased by 45 percent during the first few months of 2021, with the city experiencing 16 traffic fatalities during the first quarter of the year (compared to 11 during the same period in 2020). According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the agency had tracked 366 traffic fatalities for 2021, a 22 percent increase from the previous year. While the Portland Bureau of Transportation stresses that it can take years for trends to emerge, the agency acknowledges that this uptick is concerning.

Factors Contributing to This Increase in Portland Accidents

Researchers are still exploring the factors that may be contributing to this uptick in traffic collisions and fatalities. So far, NHTSA has posited that drivers may be more prone to exhibiting risky behavior on the road, such as exceeding posted speed limits, not wearing seat belts, and driving while intoxicated. No matter what factors played a role in the auto accident that caused your injury, reach out to a trusted personal injury attorney to discuss your options for pursuing and obtaining the compensation you need to support your recovery.


Call the dedicated and compassionate Portland and Vancouver personal injury attorneys at Henderson Taylor Law Firm today at (360) 737-1478 to discuss your case.