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“We face a crisis on America’s roadways,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the statement.

The increase came as total U.S. driving rose by 11.2% from 2020, or about 325 billion miles. NHTSA said the fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles traveled in 2021 decreased slightly to 1.33.

Safety advocates said the data suggest risky driving patterns and behaviors that emerged in 2020 are persisting as residents return to the road. Driving fell earlier in the pandemic but accidents remained high.

—Bloomberg News

Hurricane center targets surge in preventable post-storm deaths

ORLANDO, Fla. — Hurricanes are terrifying and deadly forces, but experts are growing more concerned by the amount of deaths tallied up after a storm is passed, as they’ve observed indirect death totals increasing in recent years.

“Now we’re seeing more people dying after the storm,” said Michael Brennan, the Branch Chief at the National Hurricane Center. “In Louisiana, especially after both Laura and Ida, lots of carbon monoxide fatalities due to improper generator use in these so called indirect deaths.”

With the official start of hurricane season coming June 1, the National Hurricane Center wants to bring those numbers down like it did when it increased efforts to educate the public about storm surge deaths.

Since 2017, the NHC has seen seven deaths related to storm surge. In comparison, just in the last two storm seasons, it’s seen 70 indirect deaths from just hurricanes Laura and Ida.

 

—Orlando Sentinel

Greek leader warns Congress about internal democratic erosion, citing his country’s history

WASHINGTON — The leader of Greece on Tuesday implored Congress to take seriously internal democratic erosion in the United States, which he said was critical to confront if Washington is to maintain its global leadership role.

Addressing a joint session of Congress, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was elected in 2019, referenced Athens’ own struggles with societal cohesion amid rising inequality and the spread of disinformation through social media. He is the leader of his country’s center-right New Democracy Party.

“Personally, I am more worried about the internal fragmentations of our democracies than I fear the threats of arrogant despots,” said Mitsotakis, who is the first Greek leader to address a special joint session of Congress.

“Our democracies are threatened by the sirens of populists who offer easy solutions to complicated problems,” he said. “Their voices are being heard primarily because income inequality has increased in our societies and many justifiably feel that they are being left behind. In Greece, we speak from experience, we played a heavy price for listening to them.”

—CQ-Roll Call

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