DETROIT (AP) — The government’s highway safety agency says U.S. traffic deaths rose 7% last year. That’s the biggest increase in 13 years even though people drove fewer miles due to the coronavirus pandemic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration blamed the increase on drivers taking more risks on sparsely traveled roads by speeding, failing to wear seat belts, or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The agency on Thursday released preliminary numbers showing an estimated 38,680 people died in traffic crashes last year. The increase came even though the number of miles traveled by vehicle fell 13% from 2019.
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