But NHTSA saw the largest increase in deaths – 23% – among blacks, which seems to be a stark illustration of populations who could and could not afford to stay at home throughout the pandemic.
Deaths of black Americans had already increased in recent years, with a 16% increase from 2005 to 2019, according to NHTSA data. During the same period, fatalities on the Route des Blancs fell 27.8%.
Road safety advocates told CNN Business on 2020 the increases are concerning but not surprising, and said that with fewer cars on the roads, people were going faster, making the roads less safe for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists. Where do Americans live and where they work were likely contributing factors to the death.
“Same story, different day. It’s unfortunate, ”so Charles Brown, who heads town planning and policy firm Equitable Cities, described his initial reaction to 2020 death data and the 23% increase in black deaths. .
“It told me who had to travel and who was allowed to work from home,” Eulois Cleckley, executive director of the Denver Department of Transportation, told CNN Business. “We have a lot of work to do to fix our infrastructure and make it much more secure.”
He said that 5% of Denver’s roads contribute to more than 50% of his deaths and that the deadliest roads are mostly in low-income areas mostly in the minority.
Angie Schmitt, transportation consultant and author of “Right of Way,” a book about pedestrian fatalities in the United States, said she was disappointed not yet to see Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg comment on the 2020 deaths or racial disparity.
“We need a real revival in the United States”, Schmitt said. “Now is the right time for leaders to re-commit to security. What we are doing is not working very well.”
Following an investigation into Buttigieg’s apparent silence on the new data, an NHTSA spokesperson sent CNN Business a statement from Buttigieg calling security a top priority.
“Last year’s road fatality rates and the racial disparities reflected in them are unacceptable. It reflects broader patterns of inequity in our country – and it underscores the urgent work we must do as a nation. to make our roads safer for every American, ”Buttigieg said. in the statement.
Buttigieg also said that the US plan for President Joe Biden’s jobs included a $ 20 billion investment in safety, including $ 10 billion in safe streets, which would fund efforts to reduce accidents.
He added that there are many simple and easy solutions that can be made at the local level to improve safety.
“What matters when someone enters the street that they have a safe crosswalk,” Benjamin said. “It is important that our design criteria are more than just an individual motor vehicle.”
“This is a public health crisis that we don’t talk about or deal with as such,” said Tara Goddard, a Texas A&M professor who studies transportation planning and safety.