Epidemic Plaguing America’s Roads Reaches Historic Levels

DALLAS – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is calling for more aggressive and urgent action to address a worsening crisis on U.S. roads after today’s announcement that alcohol-related deaths increased by 14% for the second consecutive year. Drunk driving caused 13,384 deaths in 2021, or 31% of all traffic fatalities in 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The announcement marks another historic increase in roadway deaths. Overall, 42,939 people died in traffic crashes in 2021 – up 10% over 2020 and the largest spike in the history of NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System that dates back to 1975. Alcohol-related deaths jumped to more than 13,000 for the first time since 2007. This follows a previous 14% rise in drunk driving deaths in 2021.

“It’s shocking to learn that 37 people a day, or one person every 39 minutes, is killed in an alcohol-related crash and another 1,000 are injured,” said MADD CEO Stacey D. Stewart. “These are not just statistics. These are innocent people, broken families and devastated communities impacted by a crime that’s 100% preventable.”

Impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving and not using seatbelts continue to be the leading causes of traffic deaths and injuries. An estimated 2.5 million people were injured in crashes in 2021, up 9% from 2020.

The rising number of roadway deaths represents an epidemic that deserves immediate attention at the highest levels of government. MADD calls on the U.S. Department of Transportation to prioritize equitable, high-visibility law enforcement that focuses on hazardous driving behavior such as impaired driving, speeding and not using a seatbelt, and to expedite a rulemaking that will result in all new cars being equipped with impaired driving prevention technology beginning in 2026, as required in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Biden in November 2021.

“We know there are proven solutions that will help lower the number of these tragedies now,” said MADD National President Tess Rowland. “Every person can do their part by never driving when their plans include alcohol or other drugs, and our nation’s leaders need to move this to the top of their priority list where it belongs.”

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders, and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. For more information or to make a donation, visit us at www.madd.org and follow MADD on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Contact: Becky Iannotta, [email protected]


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