SAN ANTONIO – The number of deadly crashes spiked around the country last year. According to data from The National Highway Safety Administration, 31,720 people died in a motor vehicle crash during the first nine months of 2021.
The total was the highest since 2006. San Antonio police are also seeing record-breaking numbers.
“The hardest part about doing what we do is just the senselessness of it all,” said SAPD Sgt. Anthony Dimmick.
According to San Antonio police, their department responded to over 205 deadly crashes in 2021. Dimmick, who works in traffic investigation, said it’s the highest number recorded.
“That’s 205 families last year that lost someone that was near and dear to them. So just the number itself is just a shocking, shocking figure,” he said.
He said part of being a traffic investigator involves trying to determine the cause of a crash. However, oftentimes the families of victims just want to know why this happened to their loved one.
“That’s often the hardest question to answer and the one that sometimes it just doesn’t have an answer.”
The data includes crashes involving pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and vehicles. Dimmick said investigators often learn pedestrians are killed while wearing dark clothing, or not using crosswalks.
However, other times it’s the drivers who are not paying attention or not wearing seatbelts.
“A vast majority of them could have been prevented,” said Dimmick.
Part of the uptick is due to more drivers are returning to their daily lives, Dimmick said. However, according to the NHTSA, 38 states saw an increase of deadly crashes during the first nine months of 2021.
Texas saw an increase of 614 more crashes compared to that of 2020.
Dimmick believes this is a trend going in the wrong direction.
“To me, this is a crisis,” he said.
Oftentimes, SAPD cites alcohol and speed as other contributing factors in deadly crashes.
With the start of Fiesta, Dimmick encourages drivers to plan ahead, use a ridesharing service and avoid drinking and driving.