The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused traffic-related deaths to skyrocket despite fewer vehicles being on roadways throughout the country. Many people started working from home and avoiding public places as various states issued shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders. Unfortunately, these orders couldn’t prevent car crashes due to reckless driving.
Some evidence shows motorists have been more prone to dangerous behavior since the beginning of the pandemic. Recently, speeding, driving under the influence, and ignoring traffic laws have been more common. Although experts thought the coronavirus would lead to fewer traffic fatalities, the numbers show a surprising increase instead.
Fatal Car Accident Statistics from 2020 to 2021
Between January and September 2021, the number of deaths in motor vehicle crashes was 12 percent higher than the same period the previous year. The Transportation Department found this to be the highest percentage increase in any nine-month period since the start of recording this type of data in 1975.
There were 31,720 fatalities between January and September 2021, the highest traffic-related deaths since 2006. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that 38 states experienced an increase in fatal accidents, with the Southern and Western states recording the highest numbers. Conversely, the death toll remained stable in only two states, and ten states showed a reduction in fatalities.
One particular researcher from the National Safety Council hypothesized the 2021 statistics for fatal car crashes would decline significantly. However, the numbers soared, leading the researcher to believe the strain of an ongoing public health crisis contributed.
Significant Increase in Fatalities Under Specific Circumstances
The NHTSA reviewed reported traffic fatalities and discovered an increase in multiple categories, including:
- Rollover accidents
- Occupant ejection from vehicles
- Driving on weekends
- Speeding-related crashes
- Alcohol use
- Driving a car at least ten years old
- Nighttime driving
According to the Federal Highway Administration, the number of vehicle miles traveled in 2020 plummeted to 430.2 miles. However, an estimated 38,680 people were killed that year in traffic-related crashes. This is a 7.2 percent increase from the year before when 36,096 people died in fatal accidents.
Factors Contributing to More Traffic Deaths During COVID
One common behavior displayed by American drivers since 2020 is recklessness. Many people made the mistake of thinking less traffic meant they were safe behind the wheel. This may have led to a lack of focus and attention on the road.
Unfortunately, risky actions without any consequences become a habit. It’s more likely someone will continue behaving carelessly when they don’t face any repercussions for their misbehavior.
Drivers who followed traffic laws and took necessary precautions under normal circumstances suddenly took more risks. The lockdown increased incidents of operating vehicles after drinking or doing drugs, exceeding the speed limit, and changing lanes aggressively.
For over 40 years, the experienced car accident attorneys of Whitestone Young, PC, have provided top-notch representation to injured clients in Fairfax, VA. We pursue compensation from the negligent individuals and companies responsible for harming innocent people. When you hire us, you will receive personalized attention and service from a dedicated and trusted legal team.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact Whitestone Young, PC. We’re available 24/7 to take your call and discuss what happened to you. Call 703-591-0200 right now for your free consultation.