As more and more Americans returned to the nation's roadways in 2021, following the 2020 COVID outbreak the number of vehicle-related deaths increased considerably.

New figures released from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show a 10.5 percent jump in traffic deaths in 2021 compared to 2020.

The 42,915 fatalities nationally were the biggest one-year increase since 2005.

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In all, 44 states saw their vehicle-related deaths jump in the last year.

South Dakota was not one of them.

According to data from the State Department of Public Safety, South Dakota actually had one fewer fatality in 2021 (121) than the state saw in 2020 (122).

So far in 2022, South Dakota has recorded 22 traffic deaths in the state, but the traditionally deadliest months on the roadways (August and October) are still on the way.

Nationally in 2021, the number of fatalities on rural interstate highways (2,147) was up 15 percent.

The age group experiencing the highest death rate was 35-44 (15% - 6,714 total), with multi-vehicle fatal accidents up 16 percent (19,777) and deaths involving pedestrians increasing by 13 percent (7.342).

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