Traffic Fatalities Are Skyrocketing Across the Country. Why?

The number of fatal car accidents has skyrocketed since 2020. Multiple factors could account for this increase. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to work from home and avoid going out in public, instances of traffic-related deaths went up significantly.

Many drivers exhibited dangerous behavior on the roads. Some chose to operate their vehicles after consuming drugs or alcohol, others drove above the posted speed limit, and many more didn’t wear their seat belts. Even though experts thought the rate of fatalities would decrease since fewer people were on the road, the opposite occurred.

Fatal Traffic Accidents Are Surging

The number of traffic-related deaths from January to September 2021 was 12 percent higher than in the same months in 2020. According to the Transportation Department, this represented the highest increase in percentages since they began recording fatalities from vehicle accidents in 1975.

There were 31,720 traffic fatalities in 2021 between January and September, the highest record since 2006. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the number of deaths in car crashes increased in 38 states. Idaho, Nevada, Texas, and other Southern and Western states reported the highest number of fatal accidents, while ten states, including the District of Columbia, reported fewer deaths.

One researcher from the National Safety Council predicted that a decline in deadly accidents would occur in 2021, but the number went up instead. One hypothesis about the reason for this increase is the anxiety many people have faced during the pandemic. There’s a feeling of uncertainty and stress during a crisis. Drivers decided to relieve some of their tension and frustration by engaging in reckless behavior.

What May Be Affecting This?

According to the NHTSA, multiple factors might have contributed to the rise in traffic-related fatalities since the pandemic started, such as:

  • Rollover accidents
  • Driving vehicles ten years old or more
  • Ejection injuries due to unrestrained occupants
  • Speeding
  • Driving at night or on the weekends
  • Drinking and driving

Statistics from the Federal Highway Administration show the number of vehicle miles traveled in 2020 decreased by around 430.2 billion miles. It’s natural to assume the number of deaths would also go down. However, the NHTSA recorded approximately 36,680 traffic fatalities during 2020, a 7.2 percent increase from the year before. This is also the highest percentage of vehicle accident deaths since 2007.

Some people blame the increasing rate of deadly accidents since the start of COVID on recklessness. Drivers often feel safer on the road when there isn’t as much traffic. The highways aren’t as congested, and side streets are practically deserted. Motorists are likely to behave carelessly when they don’t encounter perceived dangers.

Multiple trends, such as higher alcohol sales, drug overdoses, and homicides, also line up with the skyrocketing statistics. Months of feeling trapped at home with nowhere to go might have contributed to erratic conduct at the wheel. Some may think it’s an excellent way to ease anxieties and relieve some tension after stressing about the ongoing pandemic. Unfortunately, it also places drivers and passengers at risk of serious harm.

How We Can Help

Since 2011, Deering Hedrick has represented injured clients in Virginia Beach, VA. We take car accident cases seriously and work hard to hold negligent drivers liable. Our legal team is ready to pursue the money you’re owed from the at-fault driver who caused your injuries. We will fight to protect your rights and try to recover the maximum compensation you deserve.

If you were injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, call Deering Hedrick at (757) 383-6848 for a case evaluation. We’re available 24/7 to speak with you about your case and determine what we can do to help.

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