New data from the Portland Crash Analysis & Reporting Unit reveals a concerning upward trend in motor vehicle crashes over the past year. Compared to the previous year, Portland saw an 18.76% increase overall in crashes in 2021, including a 20% rise in fatal crashes and 22.67% more non-fatal injury crashes.
In raw numbers, Portland recorded 45,295 crashes in 2021, including 552 deadly crashes and 23,729 crashes that resulted in non-fatal injuries. An additional 21,014 crashes resulted in property damage only. This translates to nearly 125 crashes per day on average in 2021.
More Crashes Leading to More Injuries and Fatalities
With the large increase in crashes, injuries and fatalities also rose significantly. Five hundred ninety-nine people were killed in Portland traffic crashes in 2021, an 18.15% increase over 2020. Total people injured jumped by over 28% to 35,945.
Drivers accounted for the majority of fatalities and injuries, but vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicyclists also saw high casualty counts. Eighty-eight pedestrians and 18 bicyclists were killed in crashes last year, with many more injured.
Errors Leading to Crashes
Driver errors were the top cause of most crashes in Portland last year. The most common mistakes included:
- Failing to avoid stopped or parked vehicles ahead
- Failure to yield right-of-way
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- Following too closely
For pedestrians, the top errors were failing to yield right-of-way and crossing between intersections rather than at crosswalks. Bicyclists most often failed to yield right-of-way or rode inattentively.
Young Drivers at High Risk
The data shows young drivers between ages 15-20 were involved in a disproportionate share of fatal and injury crashes compared to their share of drivers. This age group was involved in over 18% of such crashes despite making up a far smaller portion of total drivers.
Call for Action
The alarming rise in crashes and injuries on Portland’s streets presents a major public safety issue. As the data makes clear, more must be done to improve driver awareness and skills, enhance traffic law enforcement, redesign dangerous roads, and protect vulnerable road users.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle crash, contact Beau Harlan, a personal injury lawyer in Portland, OR, at Harlan Law Firm. They have decades of experience winning compensation for crash victims in Portland and understand the impact these traumatic events have on victims’ lives. Work with a seasoned legal team to recover damages, hold negligent parties accountable, and help make the roadways safer for everyone.
Data Source: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/data/pages/crash.aspx