Compared with all other racial groups, American Indian/Alaskan Native persons experienced a substantially higher per-capita rate of total traffic fatalities and Black persons had the second highest rate of total traffic deaths in recent years, according to a new analysis from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.
The report analyzes data for the five-year period 2015-2019 and finds that traffic crash fatalities disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). The authors also address actions for addressing equity in traffic safety.
American Indian/Alaskan Natives also had the highest rate of speeding-related fatalities, and pedestrian and bicyclist deaths. Black persons not only had the second highest rate of total traffic fatalities but also the second highest rate of pedestrian traffic deaths and bicyclist traffic deaths.
Asian persons had the lowest rate of involvement for virtually all categories of traffic deaths. White persons generally have lower fatality rates then BIPOC according to the report, with the exceptions being motorcycle driver and passenger deaths.
The authors put forth the premise that ethnicity and race are intertwined with other factors that affect collision risk, like socioeconomic status and overall investments in crash prevention in certain communities. For example, there are likely disparities in roadway infrastructure, traffic enforcement, and traffic safety education depending on any given community’s location or economic health.
Other noteworthy findings from the report include the fact that American Indian/Alaskan Native persons had the highest rate of nighttime traffic fatalities. This could be due to the amount of streetlight illumination provided in underserved communities versus affluent neighborhoods, note the authors.
The report also examines he connection between race, police relations, and motor vehicle deaths. Here again, American Indian/Alaskan Native and Black persons experienced the first and second highest rates of traffic deaths involving police pursuits while behind the wheel.
An important key finding from previous research but mentioned in the new report concerns Black children ages 4-15. This population had the highest rates of fatalities involving pedestrians and other people not in vehicles as a percentage of all motor vehicle traffic deaths