Has the Covid Pandemic Reduced Traffic Fatalities?
COVID-19 has turned out to be one of the worst national tragedies in history. From businesses lost to lives lost, few could fathom the costs of a worldwide pandemic before 2020. One of the major effects of the virus was the reduction of roadway miles traversed each day. Schools were closed, people moved from offices to homes, people started shopping online and stopped eating out. That should translate into fewer traffic accidents, right?
Empty Roads Became More Deadly
According to the National Safety Council, traffic accidents and fatalities have actually increased during the pandemic. In 2020, an estimated 42,060 people died, which is an 8% increase from last year, even though there were 13% fewer miles driven. Roadway fatalities are the highest they have been since 2007, and vehicle accidents were still the leading cause of death in the United States.
Despite the drop in miles driven in 2020, motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for people of all ages. And, an estimated 4.8 million drivers and passengers were seriously injured in the same period.
Why the Increase in Fatalities?
It seems emptier roads have influenced more speeding, and distraction, as well as impairment, continue to be major factors. The continued disregard for the necessity of the use of safety belts has compounded the problem, as more than half of those killed in crashes were unbelted.
All States Were Not The Same
Even though the national average of traffic fatalities increased overall, there were some clear winners and losers. Eight states experienced dramatic increases in traffic deaths, while nine experienced decreases.
The District of Columbia and South Dakota shared the record with a whopping 33% increase in traffic fatalities, followed closely by Vermont with a 32% increase. Arkansas and Rhode Island tied with a 26% increase, followed by Connecticut (22%), Mississippi (19%), Georgia (18%), and Connecticut (22%).
Hawaii was the big winner, with a reduction of traffic fatalities of 20%, most likely influenced by the lack of tourism, followed by Wyoming, Delaware, Nebraska, Idaho, New Mexico, and Maine.
What Can You Do?
Join the National Safety Council in their pursuit of safety in all areas, at work, at home and on the roads. They advocate things like using enforcement cameras at key locations like construction sites and school bus stops to ensure the safety of our workers and children. They advocate for a three-tier licensing system for new drivers. Seat belt laws should include all passengers, and helmets should be mandatory in all states. Ignition locks should be required on vehicles operated by convicted drunk drivers, and cellular phone usage should be prohibited completely when a vehicle is in motion. If you would like to know more about the efforts of the National Safety Council, contact them at http://www.nsc.org
About the Law Office of Casey W. Stevens
The Law Office of Casey W. Stevens is dedicated to the protection of rights of those who were injured as the result of someone else’s negligence around the Atlanta area and throughout the State of Georgia.