Fact Sheet

New Release: 2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheets

September 30, 2021
2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheets feature recent data on some of California's most pressing traffic safety issues to help inform future road safety efforts

UC Berkeley SafeTREC is excited to announce the release of the 2021 series of Traffic Safety Fact Sheets, which feature traffic safety data and trends at the national and state level on a variety of road safety topics. This series also highlights the Safe System approach to road safety. Historically, road safety efforts focused on changing human behaviors to prevent crashes. The Safe System approach reframes...

2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Speeding-Related Crashes

Katherine L. Chen
Bor-Wen Tsai
Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
2021

A speeding-related crash is defined as one where a driver is speeding, racing, driving too fast for the conditions, or driving in excess of the posted speed limit. In the United States, in 2019, over one in four (26.3 percent) fatalities involved speeding, a proportion that has remained steady since 2017 following a decline in the prior decade. Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects, reduces the amount of time a driver has to react to a dangerous situation, and extends safe stopping distances.

Historically, road safety efforts focused on...

2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Motorcycle Safety

Katherine L. Chen
Bor-Wen Tsai
Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
2021

Crashes involving motorcycles are a major traffic safety concern in the United States. Since motorcyclists are susceptible to injury during crashes, they comprise a disproportionate share of all injured and killed vehicle occupants. In 2018, motorcyclists were 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to be fatally injured in a traffic crash, per vehicle miles traveled. The primary countermeasures used to address this problem have included motorcycle helmet laws and other helmet-oriented programs, rider training and licensing programs, vehicle enhancements, including anti-lock...

2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Emergency Medical Services

Katherine L. Chen
Bor-Wen Tsai
Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
2021

There are typically many contributing factors in motor vehicle crashes. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) play a critical role post-crash to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. Recent studies show that an effective emergency trauma care system can improve survival from serious injuries by as much as 25 percent and county-level coordinated systems of trauma care can reduce crash fatalities rates as much as 50 percent.

The Haddon Matrix (see Figure 1) applies basic principles of public health to motor vehicle-related injuries. The matrix looks at the factors in the pre-crash, crash...

2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Alcohol-Impaired Driving

Katherine L. Chen
Bor-Wen Tsai
Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
2021

While alcohol-impaired driving fatalities have fallen significantly in the last three decades, NHTSA reports that alcohol-impaired driving still comprises a large percentage of traffic injuries and fatalities. On average in 2019, one person died from an alcohol-impaired driving crash every 52 minutes. There was a decrease in the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities and rate per 100 million Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) in the United States between 2018 and 2019.

Historically, road safety efforts focused on changing human behaviors to prevent crashes. The Safe System approach...

2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Aging Road Users

Katherine L. Chen
Bor-Wen Tsai
Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
2021

The older adult population in the United States aged 65 and older is expected to almost double between 2016 and 2060, from 49 million to 95 million. In 2019, there were 7,214 people aged 65 and older killed in traffic crashes in the United States; this accounted for 20.0 percent of all traffic fatalities. To provide context, the overall population aged 65 and older accounted for 16.5 percent of people in the United States and 20.2 percent of all licensed drivers in 2019. California has the largest number of licensed drivers aged 65 and older in the nation with 4,516,813, or 16.6 percent of...

2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Drug-Involved Driving

Katherine L. Chen
Bor-Wen Tsai
Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
2021

The use of cannabis, prescription drugs, and other drugs are increasingly prominent on roadways in the United States, where 25.1 percent of the nation’s 36,096 fatalities in 2019 were related to drug-involved driving. Driving can be impaired by a variety of legal and illegal drugs, substances, and medications. Several states have legalized the use of medical and/or recreational cannabis, increasing concerns about traffic safety. Aside from alcohol, cannabis is the most frequently detected drug in drivers who are in crashes. The impact of drugs on the brain and behavior varies considerably...

2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Distracted Driving

Katherine L. Chen
Bor-Wen Tsai
Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
2021

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a distraction-affected crash as one where a driver was determined to be distracted at the time of the crash.

According to the National Safety Council, mobile devices are among the top distractions for drivers nationwide. Studies have found that talking on cell phones, both handheld and hands-free, increases crash risk by about four times relative to baseline driving. Built-in communication technologies, along with hands-free cell phone technologies, draw attention away from driving. The ability to multitask is a...

2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Bicycle Safety

Katherine L. Chen
Bor-Wen Tsai
Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
2021

Bicycling is becoming more popular across the country, for commuting, exercise, and leisure. However, in the event of a traffic crash between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist, the bicyclist is the more vulnerable party and more likely to be injured or killed than a motor vehicle occupant. In 2019, there were 846 bicyclists killed in a traffic crash in the United States. In citing concern about the level of bicycle fatalities, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) identified key recommendations for improving safety, including collection of better crash data, increased training for...

2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Pedestrian Safety

Chen, Katherine L.
Tsai, Bor-Wen
Fortin, Garrett
Cooper, Jill F.
2021

Everyone is a pedestrian, whether or not walking is one’s primary mode of travel. As a commute mode, walking is gaining in numbers. Based on the first six months of 2020, the GHSA projects that pedestrian fatalities in the nation will be on pace with 2019 despite large reductions in motor vehicle travel associated with COVID-19. Pedestrian fatalities as a proportion of total motor vehicle deaths increased from 13.0 percent in 2010 to 17.3 percent in 2019. Moreover, pedestrian fatalities increased 46.5 percent from 2010 to 2019 while other traffic deaths increased by 4.9 percent. Increases...