Homendy Calls Highway Fatality Numbers ‘Devastating’; Advocates Holistic Approach to Road Safety


​​​WASHINGTON (May 19, 2022) — Following the release of the early estimate of roadway fatalities in the U.S. for 2021 that showed a 10.5 percent increase in fatalities over 2020, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy called for changes to the U.S. approach to road safety.

The data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that fatalities among pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are up almost 11 percent over 2020 and almost 20 percent from pre-pandemic levels. In addition, speeding related fatalities are up almost 25 percent from pre-pandemic levels. 

“The NHTSA projections for 2021 are devastating. We need to fundamentally change the way we approach traffic safety in the United States to save lives on our roadways,” said Homendy. “Overreliance on ineffective driver education and enforcement programs is a failure that has left gaps in the safety of our roadways. The results of these safety gaps is that more than 42,900 people were killed last year. We need to move toward a Safe System Approach: a holistic safety approach focused on designing roads for all users, not just drivers, to engineering redundancy into our built environment; changing how we set speed limits in this country; mandating speed cameras; requiring safety technologies as standard in vehicles, to start.”

In 2018 and 2019, the NTSB published three reports on the risks to vulnerable road users (bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists​) and issued more than 30 new recommendations focused on reducing v​ulnerable road user traffic deaths including changes to vehicle design standards, changes in the design standards, and improvements in data collection.

“More Americans are seriously injured and killed on U.S. roads than in all other modes of transportation combined – by a long shot,” said Homendy. “That’s why the NTSB has put so much effort into attacking this colossal safety challenge, and why five of the 10 issues on our Most Wanted List are on roadway safety.” 

The NTSB’s Most Wanted List highlights transportation safety improvements needed now to prevent accidents, reduce injuries, and save lives. The following roadway safety issues are on it:


To report an incident/accident or if you are a public safety agency, please call 1-844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290 to speak to a Watch Officer at the NTSB Response Operations Center (ROC) in Washington, DC (24/7).