A New Report Has Found Racial Disparity In US Traffic Deaths

June 29, 2021

racial disparity in traffic deaths Pittsburgh, PA

Over the past couple of months, our firm has reported various traffic statistics including the increase in wrong-way accidents, teen driving distractions, and traffic fatalities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, we are here to report on another set of traffic statistics, this time highlighting the racial disparity in motor vehicle fatalities across the U.S.

Read more: U.S. and PA Traffic Deaths Up in 2020, Highest Number Since 2007

Findings From the Governors Highway Safety Association

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a 24-page report titled an “Analysis of Traffic Fatalities by Race and Ethnicity.” In this report, they found that American Indians and Alaska natives were two and a half times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident. The report also showed that African Americans die in auto accidents at a rate that is 10% higher than the national average. The report analyzed accidents that took place between 2015 and 2019 and developed the rate of deaths per every 100,000 accidents. 

According to the study, the national average for motor vehicle deaths throughout the United States is 58.1 per every 100,000 accidents. For Alaskan natives and Native Americans, this rate is 145.6. For African-Americans, it’s 68.5. These numbers are compared to Asians who sit at 15.3, Hispanics who sit at 46.9, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders at 51.1, and Caucasians at 55.2. According to Russ Martin, a Senior Director of policy and government relations for the Governors Highway Safety Association, these numbers show a distinct disparity that he believes is because of underinvestment in certain communities. 

While Mr. Martin recognized that traffic deaths have decreased significantly over the past 50 years as a result of improvements in vehicle safety, public education, and highway design, he also recognized that many low-income communities throughout the country missed out on those improvements. The statistics provided above echo that sentiment as those areas saw an increase in deadly motor vehicle accidents.  

Pennsylvania’s Response

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation doesn’t keep track of the ethnicity of those who die in auto accidents, as they aim their safety programs to a broad audience. However, according to Jennifer Kuntch, a spokeswoman for PennDOT, they can certainly tailor programs for specific communities or address specific problems. One such point that Mr. Martin brought up was that pedestrian accidents are more common in low-income areas that have poor sidewalks and/or more people using public transit. This is just one example of how the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation can aim its safety efforts.

In Pittsburgh, specifically, the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure created a traffic calming program that included adding traffic circles and installing speed bumps in neighborhoods. One of the key parts of this program requires a review to make sure low-income communities are included in these efforts. The Governors Highway Safety Association believes that traffic death disparity has become a public health issue, stating that states should emphasize making safety improvements in low-income areas.   

Contact A Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer To Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case In Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of motor vehicle accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a  consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.