Despite Steep Drop in Traffic Amid COVID-19 Orders, Motor Vehicle Accident Fatality Rate Spiked By 14% In March
Motor vehicle traffic has been dramatically reduced since stay at home orders have swept across the nation, beginning in March. While motor vehicle accidents are down dramatically overall, a shocking reality has emerged: A National Safety Council (NSC) report has found that the motor vehicle accident fatality rate* spiked by 14 percent in March, 2020 over the March, 2019 rate. But, how can this be?
*The motor vehicle accident fatality rate is calculated by dividing the number of fatalities per 100,000 population by mode share (number of trips using a type of transportation).
*The NSC counts a fatality as any person killed in a motor vehicle accident, including pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and passengers.
Motor vehicle accident fatality rate spiked by 14% in March
While the total number of traffic collision deaths dropped by eight percent in March, 2020 compared to March, 2019, the number of miles driven dropped by more than 18 percent and this meant a 14 percent increase in the death rate. The council also found that for every 100 million miles driven in March, 2020 there were 1.22 deaths from collisions, compared with 1.07 in March, 2019. This means that with the large drop in miles driven, there was a higher percentage of people dying in motor vehicle accidents this March.
Manager of statistics at the NSC, Ken Kolosh, was surprised by the data, pointing to how unusual it is to see a “…combination of both a dramatic decrease in number of total deaths coupled with a dramatic increase in the fatality rate on our roads…” The states with the biggest jump in their motor vehicle accident fatality rates were New York, California, Connecticut, and Louisiana.
Why has the motor vehicle accident fatality rate jumped?
Officials in various regions around the country have been reporting an increase in speeding and reckless driving during the pandemic. We know that speeding and reckless/aggressive driving dramatically increase the risk of serious injury accidents.
Allstate has reported that the crashes that are happening now seem to include more serious injuries and they believe the reason is because drivers are speeding more on the empty streets. According to the WHO, speed is a known key risk factor in traffic accident injuries, as it impacts both the risk of motor vehicle crashes and the severity of the injuries. In fact, excessive and inappropriate speeding are responsible for 30 percent of traffic accident deaths in high income countries like the United States.
Aggressive and reckless drivers endanger themselves, other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists by failing to come to a complete stop at stop-signs, running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, tailing other vehicles and driving too fast for road conditions. This type of driving increases the risk of car accidents and serious injuries.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!