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Alarming Trends: Oregon Traffic Deaths Surge Amidst Nationwide Crisis

highway traffic car accident

There have not been this many Portland traffic deaths in a single year since 1990.

Top transportation and safety advocates say that the skyrocketing fatal car accident rate in Oregon and across the U.S. has turned into a “crisis.”

In 2021, almost 43,000 people died on U.S. roadways. This is the most people killed by traffic accidents in a single year since 2006, according to the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Locally, this deadly roadway trend plays out in Oregon cities, towns, and rural communities. Portland, for one, had a traumatic 2021. More than 60 people were killed in city auto accidents that year, the most roadway fatalities in over 30 years.

A crisis on the road

The high death toll – 42,915 U.S. roadway fatalities – set an NHTSA record for the highest year-to-year percentage increase in deadly crashes since the government started tracking fatal crashes in 1975.

From 2020 to 2021, roadway deaths shot by more than 10 percent.

Responding to the dire situation, the U.S. will use a part of the $1.3 trillion infrastructure spending package to improve roadway safety for all users, among other initiatives.

“Our country has taken a dangerous and deadly step backwards,” MADD National President Alex Otte told the Associated Press. “More families and more communities are feeling the crushing magnitude of this crisis on our roads.”

Why are there more fatal car accidents now?

Fatal accidents jumped up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies suggest that with fewer vehicles on the road, negligent drivers let their good driving habits slip. For example, police departments across the country have reported increased speeding incidents and less seatbelt use.

In Portland, there was a sharp rise in fatal pedestrian accidents. Last year, there were 27 pedestrian deaths. The year before that, 18 pedestrians died in traffic accidents.

The city also experienced a rise in highway accidents. More than half of 2021’s traffic deaths were on state highways compared to the typical 36 percent, KGW8 reports.

Portland’s High Crash Network

Most Portland fatal car accidents – 60 percent – occurred on streets in the “High Crash Network.” The network uses crash data to identify the most dangerous roads in Portland. Roadways in the network include:

  • Killingsworth.
  • Fremont.
  • Marine Drive.
  • Burnside.
  • Foster.
  • 82nd.

The report also identifies the city’s top 30 high crash-risk intersections. These include 122nd at Powell, Division, Stark, Burnside, Glisan; Columbia Boulevard at Killingsworth; and Ceasar E Chavez at Powell.

What causes fatal car accidents?

Many factors cause car accidents, but some arise more often than others. Some of the most common factors behind accidents like head-on, rear-end, angle, sideswipe, or backed into include:

  • Speeding.
  • Disregarded signs or signals.
  • Failure to yield right of way.
  • Distracted driving.
  • Following too closely (tailgating).
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian.
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road.
  • Rear-ending a car stopped in traffic.
  • Drunk or impaired driving.

Car accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Even the most careful drivers can wind up as seriously injured crash victims. Sometimes, you can’t avoid a driver who is being reckless and end up suffering injuries caused by a crash that was not your fault.

We stand up for crash victims and their families.

If you were injured or a loved one died in a car accident, contact our law firm for a free case evaluation. At no cost to you, we can explain how the law applies to your situation and help weigh your legal options.

In addition, you should know that we represent our clients on a contingency fee basis. That means there is no upfront money or retainer required, you aren’t billed hourly, and you pay no fees unless we win your case.

A member of our team is ready to hear from you now. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced Portland car accident lawyer.

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