A significant increase in traffic-related fatalities happened during the coronavirus pandemic. Since the beginning of 2020, when COVID-19 hit the country, more deaths have occurred in vehicle crashes than in prior years. Although many people avoided public places and started working from home, the number of fatal accidents soared.
Some evidence points to reckless driving. Experts and researchers hypothesized that the uncertainty and stress of this crisis caused people to take more risks and exhibit dangerous behavior. Despite the belief that the rate of deadly accidents would drop, statistics show a rise in fatalities due to distracted driving, speeding, and other negligent actions.
Traffic Fatalities Are Skyrocketing
In 1975, the Transportation Department began recording the number of fatal accidents that happen each year during specific timeframes. There were 12 percent more traffic-related deaths from January to September 2021 than in the same period in 2020. This statistic is the highest increase during any nine months the department has seen since they began to record data.
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported an increase in the number of fatalities in as many as 38 states in 2021, with the Southern and Western states recording the highest death tolls. As many as ten states, including the District of Columbia, saw the numbers drop during the pandemic. Only two states didn’t experience a significant rise or fall in deadly crashes.
An estimated 31,720 deaths occurred in motor vehicle accidents between January and September 2021.
One researcher from the National Safety Council predicted the rate of traffic fatalities would plummet in 2021, but an estimated 31,720 deaths occurred in the United States. The researcher believes fear of the unknown and stress associated with the pandemic are reasons for the surge. Many people need to relieve their anxiety and choose to do it while operating their vehicles.
What’s Behind the Numbers?
In 2020, the number of vehicle miles traveled fell to 430.2 billion miles. Even though the Federal Highway Administration recorded Americans driving less than usual, the NHTSA estimated a whopping 38,0680 people were killed in traffic-related accidents. This is a 7.2 percent increase from the year before and the highest number since 2007.
After analyzing the data, the NHTSA also discovered various factors that could explain the rise in deaths, including:
• Driving at night
• Rollover crashes
• Driving on weekends
• Unrestrained occupants and ejection from vehicles
• Accidents involving alcohol
• Driving cars ten years old or older
Many motorists have experienced a false sense of safety regarding driving during the pandemic. Less traffic means fewer cars on the road. In turn, drivers believe they’re not at risk of accidents because they won’t encounter as many people or dangerous situations.
Unfortunately, this has led to texting while driving, unsafe lane changes, driving under the influence, and other forms of recklessness. A lack of attention and focus at the wheel increases the chance of a collision.
Other trends have aligned with the rising number of deaths throughout the country. Homicides, drug overdoses, and alcohol sales have also increased during the pandemic. It seems the inordinate amount of time spent at home alone or with family caused people to turn to unhealthy and dangerous outlets.
How We Could Help
At The Law Office of Steven D. Barnette, P.C., our team of dedicated Virginia car accident lawyers is ready to help you hold the negligent driver liable. We proudly represent Southeastern Virginia clients harmed by the wrongdoing of others.
When you hire us, you can expect personalized services and ongoing communication until the end of your case. We will fight to protect your rights and try to secure the maximum available compensation for you.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident in Virginia that wasn’t your fault, call us at 804-693-2274 for a free consultation today.