In news that surprised many, U.S. traffic fatalities actually increased by 7-8% in 2020, despite fewer drivers taking to the roads due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we're examining the traffic fatality rate and exploring how you can stay safe on the roads this summer.
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Why Did Traffic Fatalities Increase?
At the beginning of 2020, professionals in most traffic or motorway-related industries predicted a stark drop in fatalities under the assumption fewer drivers would be on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, traffic fatalities increased.
Most professionals and officials are pinning down the cause of the increased fatalities to a rather simple reason: With fewer people on the roads, the drivers that were out and about felt as though they could drive more recklessly. Unfortunately, it appears that as a result, many drivers ended up getting in accidents as a result of less controlled behavior behind the wheel.
Additionally, data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that drivers in 2020 drove under the influence of both alcoholic beverages and controlled substances more frequently than in previous years.
Combined, these factors led to an increase in traffic fatalities.
Will It Get Better?
If you're planning on hitting the road again for the first time in a long time, you'll want to stay on the defensive when you're driving.
Summer is a notorious instigator of road rage, as people on vacations and drivers who are irritable or less aware due to the heat make less cautious driving decisions than they could. A recent rash of road rage violence that seems to have spread across the U.S. is an indicator that drivers should be more cautious as they hit the roads this summer. Try not to get in altercations with other drivers if possible - putting you or your passengers in danger is never worth getting the last word in at someone who cut you off.
Additionally, drivers who got used to faster-paced traffic during the pandemic when roads were less used may have trouble adjusting to more frequent traffic jams as traffic picks back up in major cities across the U.S.
Our legal team can help if you find yourself embroiled in a traffic-related dispute. Contact us online or via phone at (845) 203-0997 to schedule a consultation!