Motor Vehicle Fatality Rate Spikes Despite COVID-19 Lockdown

It’s been nearly a year since stay-at-home orders began being issued in cities across the country. These orders have led to reduced drivers on the roadways, and in some places, roadways that are virtually empty. That might lead many people to assume that fatal car accidents declined significantly, but that was not the case. Keep reading for ideas on why fatal car accident rates have gone up despite the reduced number of vehicles on the road.

A Look at the Statistics

If you look at the number of fatal car accidents in 2020 versus other years, it initially looks as though the number of these car accidents has actually gone down. However, this does not take into account the fact that there are fewer drivers on the road. While the specific number might have gone down, what we should actually look at is the percentage of fatalities per miles driven.

When that is looked at, there is a 14% increase from the previous year. Yes, there was an 8% drop in total deaths related to vehicle accidents, but the number of miles driven went down by 18%. As a result, though the roads were emptier, they were also riskier.

Why Are There More Fatal Car Accidents?

This is still being studied, but many experts believe that it is due in part to the fact that drivers are more reckless on empty roadways compared to roadways with more vehicles. Likewise, some drivers are more likely to speed when there are fewer cars on the road, and speed is the top predictor of fatality in a car accident – the faster a person is driving at the time of an accident, the more likely they are to die.

Follow These Steps to Be Safer on the Roads During the Pandemic

The good news is that there are steps you can take to stay safer on the roads. First, make sure that you follow all state and local directives about staying off the roads. Some states, and some areas within states, are asking that people stay home unless they are running an essential errand or are experiencing an emergency.

Second, make sure that you are obeying the speed limit. This is important even if the road is clear and there is minimal traffic. Know that speeding increases the severity of an accident significantly, and the faster you are driving, the longer it takes to stop your vehicle in the event of an emergency.

Finally, be aware of the increased number of pedestrians and people on bikes. Many people are turning to these options to safely get to and from their destinations without using public transportation, and others are using these outdoor options to get out in this difficult time. Be aware of pedestrians and bike riders.

If you have suffered an injury in a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 to request a free legal consultation.