Car Accidents Deadlier as Drivers Speed During Lockdowns
Recent studies show that there have been much fewer traffic accidents across the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic and related government lockdown orders began. Unfortunately, research revealed a disturbing trend as well – the accidents that have occurred in the past several months were much deadlier than usual.
While the news reports every day on ways that Americans can protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus, many drivers aren’t aware of the extra dangers on the roads during this crisis, and the added steps they can take to help keep their family safe.
Why Traffic Deaths Are Spiking During the Pandemic
With fewer cars on the road during the coronavirus pandemic, the overall number of motor vehicle wrecks has declined dramatically in many areas of the country. For example, the number of crashes on California highways has been cut in half, according to the University of California, Davis (UCD). Researchers believe the fact that traffic volume in the area has decreased by around 60 percent has led to a drastic drop in accidents.
Nonetheless, while the number of accidents has declined, the rates of roadway deaths and serious collisions throughout the country have experienced a significant spike. In fact, fatality rates per the number of miles driven in the U.S. were nearly 15 percent higher in March 2020 than they were in March 2019, according to the National Safety Council.
For example, Connecticut drivers experienced an increase in traffic fatalities of more than 40 percent during the lockdown. Meanwhile, the rate of roadway deaths compared with auto accidents more than doubled in Massachusetts when comparing the last two weeks of March 2019 to the same period in 2020.
Tennessee has seen a similar trend, with deadly car crashes across the state increasing by six percent in the first three months of 2020. Shelby County saw particularly extreme rates from January to May 2020, with the incidence of fatal accidents rising by more than 60 percent over rates in the same period in 2019.
In Texas, the city of Austin alone saw injury rates from traffic accidents rose by over 12 percent in March 2020 compared to March 2019, even though the number of wrecks fell by 15 percent in this period. Even Minnesota, which saw an abnormal increase of 100 percent in wrecks, also saw a disproportionate rise in fatalities. Roadway deaths in the state were up 115 percent between March 16 and April 7 of this year when compared to the same period in 2019.
Traffic analysts believe that this dramatic spike in rates of traffic deaths might be due to the ways that drivers’ behaviors have changed during the COVID-19 crisis. With fewer vehicles on the road over the past several months, drivers have had more room to drive at excess speeds and make dangerous maneuvers. This means that when these vehicles encounter other cars or obstacles on the road, they usually don’t have as much time to react quickly and avoid a serious accident. It also makes injuries more severe when a crash occurs at high speed.
Common Factors in Deadly Car Crashes
Some of the most common factors in deadly car crashes include:
- Distracted drivers, who are texting, checking email, or doing anything else to take their eyes off the road
- Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs
- Hazardous road conditions, such as potholes and loose gravel
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Inexperienced drivers
- Not obeying stop signs, red light signals, or other traffic laws
- Driver inattention
- Poorly maintained vehicles
- Animals and other obstacles in the road
- Driving while fatigued or sick
- Failure to yield
- Manufacturer defects
- Dangerous weather conditions
How You Can Stay Safe on the Road During COVID
If you decide to go out on the road during the coronavirus pandemic, there are some extra steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting in a serious accident, including:
- Obey traffic laws, such as speed limits, traffic signals, one-way streets, and yield signs.
- Improve your ability to move out of the way of reckless or aggressive drivers by leaving extra space between your car and other vehicles on the road.
- Before you leave home, tell your friends and family that you won’t be available to take their calls or text messages until you reach your destination.
- Store your phone in a place that you can’t reach to help avoid the temptation to get on your phone while you’re driving.
- If you’ve been drinking, get a sober ride home instead of getting behind the wheel.
- If you’re in a car wreck, a primary way to avoid getting into a secondary and possibly more serious collision is to move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic and stay in your car while you wait for emergency responders.
Fatal Car Accident Insurance Claims
If your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident, then you might be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party who caused this tragedy. While no amount of money will ever truly make up for the loss of your loved one, wrongful death damages can help cover some of the expensive results of the accident.
Compensation is these types of claims typically helps cover costs like medical bills, lost companionship, the loss of the deceased’s income, and funeral and burial expenses.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in East Tennessee
If you are suffering from a serious car accident injury or your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle collision during the COVID-19 lockdown, The Terry Law Firm is here to help you stand up for your legal rights. With over 50 years of combined legal experience, our compassionate and skilled car accident attorneys are prepared to handle even the toughest cases across East Tennessee.
Don’t wait to pursue the justice and full compensation you deserve. Contact The Terry Law Firm right away to schedule your free consultation and get on the road to recovery. Call us today or reach us 24/7 online.