Auto Accident Fatalities Spike During Pandemic
June 22, 2020
Surprisingly statistics released by the National Safety Council* indicate that the number of motor vehicle fatalities per mile driven increased by 14% compared with the numbers from March 2019. The mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven was 1.22 for the year compared to 1.07 in March 2019. In fact, during the first quarter of 2020, eleven states, including Connecticut, Louisiana, New York, Arkansas, Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma, California, Texas, and Tennessee, experienced a notable increase in the number of deaths on state roadways. Although eight states posted notable decreases in crash-related fatalities, it should be noted that these statistics from the NSC did not include the Memorial Day weekend, which was expected to be one of the safer holiday periods for auto accidents in recent years.
Rising death rates on U.S. roadways
In attempting to explain the rising death rate on America’s highways, traffic experts and law enforcement officials at the state and local levels have suggested the most probable causes for a spike in fatalities to be:
- Speeding – Speed has long been a leading predictor for crash severity as well as the number of people killed per collision. With traffic lighter than normal, some drivers are failing to obey posted speed limits.
- Reckless Driving – It is crucial for everyone to buckle up, designate a sober driver, avoid distractions, and drive attentively and defensively. If you are experiencing pent-up anger, never release it while behind the wheel.
- Pedestrian Accidents – With more people staying home, many have taken to streets for a daily walk. Although exercise is needed, walkers should take added caution when crossing or walking in the streets.
- Cycling Accidents – Similar to increases in pedestrian traffic, stay at home orders seem to have more people riding bikes. It is important for cyclists to use designated lanes and remember less traffic does not mean no traffic.
In some areas, government agencies have repealed requirements for teen drivers turning-of-age to pass road tests before they can acquire a driver’s license, as well as having relaxed the “hours of service” rules for drivers of commercial vehicles.
So, what about car crash deaths in Florida?
The news is good for the Sunshine State, which usually ranks in the Top Five when it comes fatalities related to vehicular accidents. Death rates have remained about the same. The bad news is that the numbers in Florida for auto accident deaths are not declining. After all, with quarantines and shelter in place directives issued statewide, Florida has had considerably less traffic on its major roadways. This is mostly due to the stark decrease in tourism with many beaches and amusement parks closed as well as the reduction in out-of-state students traveling to and from colleges and universities. To help protect yourself and others, please be aware of increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic, especially during early morning or evening hours. Moreover, be attentive and avoid driving above the speed limit.
If you or a loved one were severely or fatally injured in a car crash, contact the Law Office of Schackow & Mercadante to discuss the details of your accident claim with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
*NOTE: Chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization that has tracked auto accident fatalities and issued estimates for collision-related trends for all states for nearly 100 years. Its mission is to eliminate preventable deaths on the road, at work, in homes and communities.