Connecticut Department of Transportation

State Urges Cautious Driving During Holidays as Traffic Deaths Increase Nearly 16%

Closeup of wheels on a car

Traffic-related deaths in Connecticut are up almost 16 percent since last year and the state Department of Transportation is urging people to be cautious on the roads during the holiday season.

There are likely several reasons for an increase in driving-related deaths, including an increase in speeding during the COVID-19 pandemic and aggressive driving amid stress from the pandemic, according to state officials.

As of Nov. 12, there have been 290 traffic-related deaths in Connecticut, up from 257 in 2020, and 216 in 2019, according to the state.

“During the winter months and Holiday season, we typically see an increase in crashes and fatalities - mostly due to impaired driving, distractions, and hazardous weather conditions,” Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said in a statement. “Combined with the speed and aggressive driving patterns since the start of the pandemic, we are pleading with Connecticut drivers to be more vigilant than ever. We need to do everything we can to stop this trend.”

It is a real crisis. It’s happening here and it’s happening across the country. We are seeing an unprecedented increase in fatalities.

CT Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti

The CT Department of Transportation, citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said an estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in the first half of 2021, up 18.4 percent since 2020. Officials said that’s the largest number of projected fatalities in that time period since 2006.

Analysis from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that road fatalities are at a 15-year high.

The NHTSA said driving patterns and behaviors in the United States changed significantly during the pandemic and increases in speeding haven’t fully come back down.

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