Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its 2020 report on motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. According to the report, 38,824 individuals died in car crashes in 2020. Sadly, this is the highest number of traffic fatalities in a single year since 2007.

Because many Americans worked from home for much of 2020, one would expect there to be fewer traffic fatalities that year. Still, the NHTSA report reveals some alarming trends in driver behaviors that likely caused the uptick in traffic fatalities. These behaviors continue to put the lives of all Tennesseans in jeopardy.


Many Americans seem to be virtually incapable of following posted speed limits, as excessive speed played a role in many fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2020. Put simply, the faster a vehicle is traveling, the greater the chances one of its occupants will die or suffer a catastrophic injury in a crash.

Alcohol impairment

Some drivers continue to endanger others by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Just as speed factored into many of the fatal car accidents in 2020, impaired driving remained a leading cause of these crashes.

Seat belt usage

In 2019, approximately 91% of Americans claimed to use their seat belts regularly, leaving about 9% of drivers who refuse to buckle up. Still, wearing a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle is one of the more effective ways to survive a car accident. Regrettably, many of those who died in traffic accidents in 2020 were not wearing seat belts.

The NHTSA’s 2020 annual report should remind all Americans of the dangers of irresponsible driving. Ultimately, if someone you love dies because of someone else’s irresponsible driving, you may have grounds to pursue substantial financial compensation.