Despite Americans driving less last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects that the rate of fatal car crashes in 2020 will be the highest its been since 2007.
In a news release, the NHTSA stated that preliminary data showed an estimated 38,680 people died in car crashes last year, compared to 36,096 fatalities that were reported in 2019.
That's an increase of about 7.2%.
While fatalities rose, the NHTSA added that miles driven last year decreased by about 13.2%.
The agency said the increase in fatalities was due to impaired driving, speeding and people failing to wear a seat belt.
NHTSA said fatal accidents increased in particular on rural roads (up 11%), urban interstates (up 15%) and at night (up 11%).
Fatalities among people over 65, meanwhile, were down about 9%.