Why Have Auto Accident Rates Spiked so Dramatically During the Pandemic?

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, mandatory lockdowns resulted in many companies moving to remote work, resulting in fewer cars on the road. For months, highways and roads that had been stop-and-go during rush hour were now open and empty. With the decrease in activity, one would expect a decrease in automobile accidents. In fact, the opposite was true.

National Safety Council report found that an estimated 42,060 individuals died in auto accidents during 2020—this represents an increase of 8% compared to 2019. Eight states had an increase of more than 17% (ranging from 18% to 33%) in the number of estimated deaths due to car crashes. Examined through another lens, if you compare national “traffic deaths to the number of miles driven, the rate of fatalities rose 24%.”

Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t released a 2020 report yet, it did release nine months’ worth of data, which showed similar trends. They also published an update where they discussed some of the risky behaviors associated with the increase in fatalities. Some of the behaviors don’t address why auto accident rates spiked (such as seatbelt use), but others are very relevant. Here are two of the most pertinent.

  • Speeding
    There was a “median 22% increase in speeds in select metropolitan areas,” which impacts the frequency of crashes more than an increase in the number of cars on the road.
  • Increase in driving with alcohol or drugs in their system
    CNN reported that one study found that two-thirds of all drivers in serious crashes had at least one substance in their system, whether alcohol, marijuana, or opioids.

A marked decrease in seatbelt use resulted in more ejections from cars and an increase in both severe injuries and fatalities.

Tenn And Tenn, P.A., Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or your loved ones were in a car accident at any point throughout the pandemic, you might still be navigating the after-effects. Treatment and lost work can be costly. You deserve compensation for your injuries. Contact Tenn And Tenn, P.A. attorneys today. Reach out online or call (888) 332-5855 for your free consultation. 

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