During the coronavirus pandemic, traffic on U.S. roadways has been significantly lighter, but crashes have been more deadly, according to a new report from the National Safety Council (NSC). The NSC reported that in March, when most Americans started to drive less frequently due to stay-at-home orders, the fatality rate per mile driven increased by 14% compared with March 2019.
The NSC listed Texas among the states that have experienced a significant increase in the number of roadway fatalities. The Lone Star State has seen a 6% increase in roadway deaths through the first three months of 2020.
Nationally, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven was 1.22 in March 2020, up from 1.07 a year ago, the NSC found. However, the overall number of fatalities fell down by 8%, a decline attributed to shelter-in-place orders throughout the U.S. A fatality is considered anyone who dies in a motor vehicle accident: drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Approximately 40,000 people die in accidents on U.S. roads each year.
Speeding and Reckless Driving Are to Blame
The NSC’s traffic data, compiled from all 50 states, confirms previous reports that speeding and reckless driving during the public health crisis are resulting in a disproportionate number of fatalities. Safety advocates and law enforcement throughout the country are urging motorists to decrease their speed, not operate their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and always wear seat belts.
According to the NSC, the number of miles driven decreased 18.6% in March compared to March 2019. As traffic volumes fell drastically due to stay-at-home orders, average speeds increased significantly above posted limits, more than doubling in some cities, according to traffic data. Police agencies have been reporting more speed-related crashes, and state troopers have reported writing more speeding tickets.
National data suggest that the surge in speeding was among the major factors in the rise in the fatality rate, according to the NSC. The NSC reported that relaxing driving license requirements for teens in some states could have been a factor as well.
Drivers should be extra careful around pedestrians and cyclists as more people turn to walking and biking during the quarantine, the NSC warns. Pedestrians and bicyclists also need to remember that just because there is less traffic, this does not mean the roadways are safe. Pedestrians and cyclists should always be cautious when crossing a street.
Contact Our Houston Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers Today
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident in Houston, seek legal counsel as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian™, our compassionate personal injury attorneys can help you demand the full and fair compensation you deserve. For years, we have been helping individuals and families like yours hold negligent drivers accountable for the accidents they cause.
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