Many drivers were involved in car accident deaths off the road and highways of the United States due to pandemic lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Those that did venture out, though, discovered open lanes that only encouraged dangerous driving, resulting in a spike in traffic-related fatalities around the country.
In a report published by the nonprofit National Safety Council, we found that 42,060 people died in car accidents in 2020, 8% over 2019 and the first increase in four years. This increased the fatality rate per 100 million miles driven by 24%, the highest annual percentage growth since the council started gathering data in 1923.
Despite the fact that traffic is now approaching pre-coronavirus speeds, officials suspect bad behaviour on the highways is ongoing.
“We’re seeing a huge increase in the amount of risk-taking behavior,” Michael Hanson, director of the Minnesota Public Safety Department’s Office of Traffic Safety, told the Associated Press.
Last year’s death toll was the highest since 2007, when the number of people injured in car accidents was 43,945. According to the National Safety Council, 4.8 million people were involved in car accidents last year.
Numbers are up, despite Americans driving 13% less miles in 2020 or 2.8 trillion miles.
SPEEDING HAS BECOME A MAJOR FACTOR IN COLLISIONS
According to preliminary statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed is the most important element in risky conduct on the road. Among those injured, tests at trauma center’s showed revealed elevated use of alcohol, marijuana, and opioids.
When stay-at-home orders were given early in the pandemic last spring in Minnesota, traffic volumes dropped by 60%. State officials predicted a corresponding decrease in accidents and fatalities, according to Hanson, but although crashes decreased, deaths increased.
“Almost immediately the fatality rate started to go up, and go up significantly. It created less congestion and a lot more lane space for drivers to use, and quite honestly, to abuse out there,” Hanson said, adding that other states saw similar increases.
Due to empty roads, statistics found that drivers traveled at high speeds. In 2019, the Minnesota State Patrol’s 600 troopers issued citations to well over 500 drivers for exceeding the speed limit of 100 miles per hour. By 2020, that number was over 1,000.
Due to such high speeds, collisions were much more serious than usual. Despite traffic beginning to return to normal levels, drivers still drove at high speeds. This continues to be a major contribution to severe car accidents.
The National Safety Council is pushing for more fair traffic control, infrastructure upgrades, universal ignition key locks for convicted drunk drivers, reduced speed limits to meet highway designs, and rules prohibiting mobile phone usage while driving, among other things.
Finding a Car Accident Attorney Can Be Overwhelming
With so many collisions in recent times, searches for a “car accident attorney” have been on the rise. So, if you’re looking for a car accident attorney or personal injury attorney, one must consider a few things. The two main things would be: expertise and cost.
You can retain an attorney in almost every situation. Some, however, are experts in certain categories. So, if you are injured in a car accident, seek out an attorney who specializes in car accident injuries or personal injury.
As for cost, just remember: a high price tag does not necessarily mean they are better. Cheap does not necessarily mean it’s a better choice for you either. In fact, it could mean they are not as experienced as others. You have to consider what an attorney’s fees are.
“There is no law requiring you to have a lawyer when filing a personal injury claim after a car accident. However, what you get from working with experienced car accident attorneys can make all the difference in the outcome of your case,” says prominent car accident attorney Brandon J. Broderick. “Why risk being unfairly compensated and not having recourse to fix it? When you hire a personal injury lawyer from our team, you pay nothing upfront. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case.”