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Motor Vehicle Fatality Rate Spikes, Despite COVID-19 Lockdown

In March 2020, states across the country implemented stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would make sense that virtually empty roadways would mean less vehicle accidents resulting in less fatalities. In actuality, the roadways became more lethal!

“A new National Safety Council report finds that the number of motor vehicle fatalities per miles driven increased by 14% compared with the March 2019 rate.”(NPR.org) Although there was a drop of 8% in total deaths related to motor vehicle accidents, the number of miles driven also dropped by 18%, because people were staying at home, instead of getting out and about. So, although the roads were emptier, they were riskier.

“The National Safety Council (NSC) analysis counts a fatality as anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident; drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.”

Ken Kosh, manager of statistics at the NSC said what is normally seen during a recession is either a decrease in the number of motor vehicle-related deaths, or the injuries and fatality rate will hold steady or slightly decrease. “The combination of both a dramatic decrease in number of total deaths coupled with a dramatic increase in the fatality rate on our roads…was very surprising.”

Evidence is emerging that many drivers are getting more reckless on the empty roadways, and no traffic means it’s easier to speed. Reports indicate that speeding has significantly increased. “Because speed is the number one predictor of crash severity, the proportion of people dying per collision is on the rise…” (ABC7.com) “Disturbingly, we have open lanes of traffic and an apparent open season on reckless driving,” said Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO.

Martin says we should all take it as our civic duty to drive safely during this global pandemic and crisis. We need to do it for the frontline workers, who need to be concentrating on the many coronavirus patients needing care. They do not need to be overwhelmed by preventable car accidents.

The NSC urges motorists to do the following, especially during this pandemic, to help ensure safe roads:

  • “Follow state and local directives and stay off the roads if officials have directed you do to so; many states are asking drivers to stay home except in emergency situations or for essential errands
  • Obey speed limits, even if roads are clear and traffic is light
  • Be aware of increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic as people turn to walking and biking to get out of the house safely during quarantine; conversely, pedestrians and bicyclists should remember that reduced traffic does not mean no traffic, and be careful when crossing or walking in streets
  • Practice defensive driving: Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions
  • Stay engaged with teen drivers’ habits and practice with them frequently – tips are available at org/DriveitHOME
  • Organizations and employers are encouraged to join the Road to Zero Coalition, a 1,500-member group committed to eliminating roadway deaths by 2050” (ohsonline.com)

Thankfully, South Carolina was one of eight states that had a notable decrease (12%) in the number of roadway deaths between January and March of 2020.

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – SERVING CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you have suffered a collision in South Carolina, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information on the page here and schedule your free consultation session.

Other online resources used for this article:

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/04/09/covid-19-cuts-car-crashes-but-what-about-crash-rates/

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