People like to see forward progress on public safety trends, particularly when it comes to their well-being on the roadways. After all, with advances in safety technology such as anti-lock brocks, lane assist and other innovations, one might expect lower numbers of serious collisions each year.
As recent data shows, this did not happen in 2021 in Washington state.
High number of fatal crashes
Looking at data from the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Seattle Times reported that 2021 saw the most fatal crashes in Washington since 2006. Authorities reported 540 fatal auto accidents in 2021, killing just over 600 people. Many of the crashes resulted in the death of a pedestrian or bicyclist, accounting for 118 of the year’s fatal crashes.
The past 15 years of data, starting with the peak period in 2006 does show a positive downward trend in fatal crashes, until 2020. A summary of these crashes reveals some interesting highlights:
- 2006 saw 578 fatal crashes
- 2013 saw a low of 408 fatal crashes
- 2020 saw 530 fatal crashes
- 2021 saw 540 fatal crashes
While authorities do not have all the answers for this disturbing two-year period, they do point to several likely factors. Alcohol and drug-related crashes remained high during this period and speed likely played a significant role.
High number of serious crashes
The data also shows that 2021 saw more serious auto crashes involving injuries than in any year since 2006. Authorities reported 2,411 serious crashes last year that did not result in a fatality, just below the 2,476 recorded in 2006.
As with fatal crashes, 2013 had the lowest number of serious crashes at 1,613. Since then the number of serious accidents has climbed steadily, peaking in 2021.