Decreased Traffic, Increased Fatalities – Roadway Death Rates Rose in March

The COVID-19 pandemic that enveloped the nation brought stay-at-home orders to the majority of the population. Commuters and travelers got off the road and traffic significantly dropped, so it would make sense that traffic violations and accidents would do the same. However, a recent report finds that the number of road fatalities actually increased.

A National Safety Council (NSC) report shows that, in March, as people drove less and roads emptied, more fatal accidents occurred. The NSC found that the national motor vehicle accident fatality rate rose by 14 percent in March 2020 as compared to March 2019. Fatalities, according to the study, include drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or cyclists.

Decreased Traffic Increased Fatalities Covid-19

According to the report, the overall number of traffic accident deaths in March 2020 did decrease by eight percent compared to 2019. However, the fatality rate per miles driven jumped by 14 percent over the same period. The mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven was 1.22 in 2020 compared to 1.07 in 2019.

Ken Kolosh, the council’s manager of statistics, said “The risk on our roads has actually increased. Although an eight percent decrease in deaths from one March to the next March is great news, that decrease should have been even greater if the risk on our roads had stayed the same. We should have seen closer to an 18 percent decrease in deaths.”

States with the biggest jump in car accident fatality rates include New York, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Arkansas. And the states with significant decreases? Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Iowa, and our home state of Maryland – a small silver living.

Speeding may be contributing to the increased fatality rates

Over the past few weeks, many states have reported an uptick in speeding and reckless driving with less vehicles on the road. High-speed accidents usually result in serious or fatal injury. The NSC advises further research and study is needed to determine the causes of the jump in fatality rates.

They also offer a warning:

Disturbingly, we have open lanes of traffic and an apparent open season on reckless driving. Right now, in the midst of a global pandemic and crisis, we should take it as our civic duty to drive safely. If we won’t do it for ourselves, we should do it for our first responders, our law enforcement and our healthcare workers, who are rightly focused on coronavirus patients and should not be overwhelmed by preventable car crashes.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. can help. During this time and every time, our priority is protecting your rights and your well-being. Talk to our Maryland personal injury attorneys today, and we can work with you to recover compensation. To set up a consultation, call us today at 410-730-7737 or complete our contact form.