Road traffic shootings see 2021 as ‘worst year on record’

More than 500 people were killed or injured in roadside shootings across the United States in 2021, the “worst year on record” for gun violence on streets and highways analysis published by Everytown for Gun Safety on Monday.

It’s unclear what’s causing the rise in street violence, but gun safety advocates suggest pandemic-related stressors and record increases in gun purchases could be factors.

Last year, nearly 400 people were injured and 130 others fatally shot in clashes involving aggressive drivers, compared with 225 injured and 68 dead in 2019. In an average month in 2021, 44 people were shot dead in street riots, double that loud Everytown, a nonprofit dedicated to gun control, is the pre-pandemic average.

“Given the recent spike in gun sales in the United States, combined with the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere’ agenda, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a crisis of gun-related road rage,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action in a statement. “We will not accept a new normal where the retaliation for a horn honked is gunfire.”

In 2020, the FBI conducted nearly 40 million background checks on firearms, more than any other year on record, according to the agency Data. Nearly 39 million firearms background checks were conducted in 2021. This year, Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, a consulting and research firm, estimated that 14.8 million guns were purchased from January to September.

While there were fewer drivers on the road in 2020 due to the pandemic, AAA said it was unclear if traffic increased the following year.

Meanwhile, road deaths appeared to have risen at a record pace for the first nine months of 2021, according to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. in one projection In February of this year, the agency announced that an estimated 31,720 people died in motor vehicle accidents from January to September 2021, the most in the first nine months of any year since 2006.

According to Everytown, which used the Gun Violence Archive database to analyze roadside firearm incidents, roadside shootings don’t appear to be showing any signs of slowing down. So far in 2022 there have been at least 114 incidents of street scuffles. Arizona, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin had the highest rates of street shootings, according to Everytown’s analysis.

In a statement, Sarah Burd-Sharps, research director of Everytown for Gun Safety, blamed America’s easy access to guns.

“Driving is getting hot in a lot of other countries, but only in the US is someone shot and injured or killed in a traffic incident every 17 hours,” Burd-Sharps said. “We’ve seen a nationwide increase in shootings during the pandemic, and that increase has impacted our roads and highways as well.” Road traffic shootings see 2021 as ‘worst year on record’

Caroline Bleakley

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