Number of Car Accidents Increases During Pandemic
Americans Have Been Driving Less but Crashing More
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released its first data about motor vehicle safety during the COVID-19 crisis and the results are startling. Americans dramatically decreased the number of miles traveled, but the number of fatalities on the nation’s roadways has jumped by more than 7 percent. The data indicates that fatalities increased in virtually every major category:
- More than 23,300 people were killed in passenger vehicles, an increase of about 5 percent.
- Deaths in motorcycle accidents spiked up 9 percent.
- Bicyclists saw a 5 percent climb in traffic fatalities.
- The pedestrian death rate remained stable.
According to the NHTSA, officials expect the death toll to reach nearly 39,000, up from just over 36,000 in 2019. Data from the Federal Highway Administration indicate, however, that Americans traveled 430 billion fewer miles by motor vehicle in 2020 than they did in 2019, down 13 percent. That means the number of fatalities per vehicle mile traveled went up almost 25 percent.
NHTSA data shows dramatic increases in a wide range of demographics:
- The number of occupant ejections went up 20 percent.
- The number of motor vehicle accidents involving the use of alcohol escalated by 9 percent.
- The number of fatalities involving passengers not wearing seat belts jumped by 15 percent.
- The number of deaths in single-vehicle crashes went up by 9 percent.
Only two major categories are expected to show declining numbers in 2020. Large-truck related fatalities are expected to drop by 2 percent, and motor-vehicle-accident fatalities involving persons older than age 65 are anticipated to go down by almost 10 percent.
Researchers say that although traffic was down dramatically across the nation, the lighter traffic contributed to the increased fatality rate. They speculate that because there was less congestion on roadways, those drivers who did venture out were less cautious and more willing to engage in risky behavior. Other data collected by the NHTSA indicates that the average speed on the nation’s roads increased during 2019 (including more incidences of drivers operating vehicles at extreme speeds). NHTSA also found indications that more drivers were willing to be on the road without their seat belt securely fastened, as well as a greater incidence of people drinking or using controlled substances and getting behind the wheel.
Contact the Proven Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we know the impact that a personal injury can have on every area of your life. If you’re hurt in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, send us an e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.