Traffic Numbers Went Down; Fatal Accidents Went Up
In March 2020 the nation came to a grinding halt. As COVID-19 swept through the nation, stay-at-home orders were issued, shelter-in-place commands went into effect, and millions of people got off of the nation’s highways and roadways. A significant drop in traffic, some areas saw a decline of 60% or more, lead to fewer accidents and fewer fatal accidents.
At least, that’s what happened at first.
But as motorists saw those wide open roadways, many of them saw it as an invitation to open the throttle all the way. With fewer obstacles, others saw it as an invitation to take risks they otherwise would not have taken: driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
How do those numbers break down? Herbert & Eberstein, your auto accident attorneys in Dallas, Texas take a look.
A Rise in the Number of Fatal Accidents
In order to fully understand how significant the increase of fatal auto accidents is, we have to look at three different hard numbers. How many deaths were there, how big of an increase is this from last year, and overall how large is this number historically?
- In 2019 fatal accidents on our roadways resulted in 36,096 lives lost.
- In 2020 fatal accidents on our roadways resulted in 42,060 lives lost.
That jump of nearly 8,000 deaths is the first increase in number of fatal accidents in over 4 years, and it is the largest number of annual deaths since 2007. If you remember from our previous post about the rise in fatal motorcycle accidents, this correlates to about the time when smart phones were getting popular and people had their noses buried in a screen instead of watching the road.
Not only was there a sharp increase in deaths, it was also the largest fatal accident year in over a decade.
A Rise in the Number of Fatal Accidents per Mile Driven
But there’s another significant number we should look at. Deaths per 100 million miles driven increased 24% between 2019 and 2020. Since the NHTSA started collecting data in 1923 this increase represents the largest increase ever recorded.
Fewer miles driven, with more deadly accidents, means that it was more dangerous than ever to drive last year.
A Rise in the Number of Risks as Traffic Returns to Normal
To compound the problem, the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 aren’t looking much better. The country is opening up, many more people are back on the roads. But those habits that some learned when traffic was diminished are hard to shake.
Third party traffic data analysts are reporting that increased speeds, especially in the morning and evening rush hour commutes, is higher than in previous years. Even in areas where the traffic patterns have largely returned to what they were pre-COVID.
Herbert & Eberstein: Auto Accident Attorneys in Dallas
In early March 2020, Texas’ mask mandate was lifted and the vast majority of businesses went back to operations as normal.
Without restrictions, you have probably seen far more vehicles on the road during your commute than a year ago, or even through the summer of 2020.
Based on the data outlined above, you’re more likely to be involved in a fatal accident, and even in an accident that results in property damage and injury if no lives are lost.
If you have been hit, you need the best auto accident attorneys in Dallas and the surrounding area. You need Herbert & Eberstein.