Multiple states reported an increase in fatal accidents during the COVID shutdown.
Traffic Reduced during the COVID Shutdown
Traffic congestion was greatly reduced during the pandemic and the recovery period. Many businesses and most schools closed. The majority of states and municipalities restricted nonessential business and travel.
Stay at Home
Residents were ordered to stay at home unless it was absolutely necessary. Even with sporadic openings of communities, congestion was still reduced. Many decided to stay home on their own. Fewer people traveled the roads for several months.
No More Rush Hour
Rush hour all but disappeared in most communities. Most traffic centered around essential businesses such as grocery stores and food banks.
So, Why did Traffic Fatalities Increase?
Fewer cars on the road is not necessarily safer. Drivers can easily get a false sense of safety when there is less to pay attention to.
Causes of Accidents
Many perceive that more cars mean more fatal accidents. This is not always true.
There are more accidents when there are more cars on the road but fewer fatalities due to a slower speed. Drivers are often more attentive to their surroundings when there is more traffic.
Congested traffic forces cars to go much slower, often below the speed limit.
Traffic enforcement was reduced as most states experienced reduced cars on the road. Some regulatory enforcement was suspended as expiration dates of licenses, registrations, and inspections were extended.
Police presence shifted from traffic control to patrolling neighborhoods, supporting healthcare operations, enforcing stay at home orders, and responding to crime related to the economic slowdown.
Opening it Up on Open Roads
Drivers were able to enjoy open roads without being stuck in traffic.
The temptation to “open it up” on a wide-open highway that is normal congested, is high. The opportunity for a driver to drive faster than they have ever been able to sounds exciting. Many drivers, young and old, have had a youthful fantasy of being a race car driver. When the fantasy is acted out on a highway, it can be deadly. Real world race car drivers spend many years gaining experience, and they drive on a racetrack built and maintained for the sport. The road they drive on is a very controlled environment. The cars they drive are specialty vehicles with safety features not found in the cars most of us drive every day.
Driving safely and attentively is important regardless of how many cars are on the road. Stay safe and contact our experienced law firm if you are involved in any accident. We are here to help.