The circumstances surrounding these summer traffic fatalities tell us something about their causes.
Alcohol impairment, where the highest driver blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, was involved in 32 percent of summer traffic fatalities in 2021.
It’s worth noting that drivers with DUIs on their records will have a harder time finding affordable insurance even if they didn’t cause deaths or injuries, so it’s best to always drive sober to avoid motor vehicle crashes.
Speeding was involved in 22 percent of all traffic deaths in the summer of 2021. Unfortunately, a speeding ticket can stay on your record for years or even permanently, depending on the state where you’re licensed.
Driving is more dangerous at night due to a lack of visibility. That same summer, 44 percent of traffic fatalities occurred during dark conditions, for a total of 5,305 deaths.
Atmospheric conditions, such as rain, were involved in 24 percent of all traffic crashes in summer 2021.
Distracted and Drowsy Driving
Less-common causes of traffic fatalities in the summer of 2021 included distracted driving, which was involved in 6 percent of deaths, and drowsy driving, which was involved in 1 percent.
Across the board, teens have higher crash rates than any other age group, but this issue is exacerbated in the summer, when many of them are out of school. It should be noted, though, that many traffic fatalities attributed to teen drivers aren’t a result of reckless driving but rather driving errors. In 37 percent of all teen driver crashes that summer, errors occurred, such as rear-ending another vehicle, turning into another vehicle at an intersection, or edging off the road.2 Believe it or not, these behaviors aren’t considered reckless driving.