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Traffic fatality rate surged in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Traffic fatalities in 2020

Since the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the U.S. in the spring of 2020, several states implemented stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines. Businesses closed their doors. Many companies furloughed workers or required them to work from home. In addition, several events and activities were canceled. Only essential businesses remained open. This resulted in fewer people traveling and fewer cars on the road. Initially, our roads seemed safer with fewer people driving. That hasn't been the case, however, according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The official 2020 crash statistics from the NHTSA won't be available until 2022. Preliminary data showed a two percent drop in the number of traffic fatalities during the first half of 2020 from the same period in 2019. The traffic fatality rate rose by 18 percent in 2020, however. That's from 1.06 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled to 1.25 deaths.

Likely causes of the increase in traffic fatalities

In April of 2020, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) warned that dangerous speeding and reckless driving was on the rise amid the pandemic. More drivers took the opportunity to drive at dangerous speeds (sometimes over 100 mph) due to the drop in traffic congestion.

By the time restrictions began to loosen in the late spring, the GHSA also provided a warning as more people began to drive again. Many people who hadn't traveled within the last couple of months would become rusty behind the wheel. People would also be more likely to drive drunk as bars and restaurants began to reopen.

Speeding citations increase across the U.S.

As traffic returned to somewhat normal in many areas, some drivers continued to travel at dangerous speeds. The Wall Street Journal provided some staggering examples:

  • From April 1 to May 21, 232 drivers in Minnesota were cited by state police for speeds greater than 100 mph. State troopers issued more than 1,000 citations by the end of 2020, which is twice the number of tickets issued in 2019. One driver was even clocked at 153 mph in October.
  • Approximately 2,493 speeding citations were issued in California by state police for speeds greater than 100 mph within the first month of the pandemic. That's a significant increase from the 1,335 speeding citations issued during the same period in 2019.
  • In Nebraska, state police issued 902 speeding citations for speeds at least 100 mph through October. That's also a significant increase compared to the 538 citations issued during the same period in 2019.
  • There have also been significant increases in the average driving speed during morning and evening rush hours in several metropolitan cities. WSJ used San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington D.C. as examples.

Contact an attorney serving car accident victims in Alabama and their families

Speeders, and reckless or impaired drivers all have one thing in common. They endanger the lives of others on the road. That's why the legal team at Dean Waite & Associates LLC is committed to helping crash victims and their families get the justice they deserve. The cost of being taken to the hospital by an ambulance, visiting an emergency room and undergoing treatment for your injuries can quickly add up. In addition, you may not be able to work for several months and earn a paycheck.

The insurance company that represents the other driver may try to take advantage of the situation. They may offer a quick settlement that only covers a small portion of your damages. This is one tactic they use to pay you as little as possible. They just want to close out your case so you can't pursue additional damages. Don't fall for it! Let our car accident lawyers work to help you build a strong case. We'll help you recover every penny of your medical expenses, lost wages and other financial damages. In addition, we'll factor in non-economic damages (pain and suffering) when negotiating a settlement on your behalf. If you lost a loved one in a fatal crash, we can help you pursue a wrongful death claim.

Dean Waite & Associates, LLC serves the greater Mobile, Alabama area. Our case evaluations are confidential and free of charge. Contact us online or call us to discuss your legal options.

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