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Reckless Pandemic Driving

Dangerous Pandemic Driving Skews Statistics

While the total number of traffic deaths in the United States dropped during the COVID-19 lockdown due to a reduction in overall traffic volume, the statistics for deaths per miles driven have spiked sharply.  This appears to be due to the fact that more drivers have been engaging in reckless behaviors such as speeding and driving under the influence.  

If you take a drive out on the Sacramento roads, it is likely you will witness examples of such reckless behavior.  Some drivers are traveling at highway speeds on surface roads and driving at speeds way over the limit on the freeways.  Even though there continues to be reduced traffic when compared to pre-pandemic times, a high number of accidents throughout the region continue each day.

Watch the YouTube video from Inside Edition on drivers speeding during the pandemic.

Statistics Confirm More Deaths Per Miles Driven

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released some statistics related to this phenomenon.

The second quarter of 2020 was the first full quarter that included a COVID-19 lockdown.  During that period of time, the total number of traffic deaths dropped by 302 when compared to the second quarter of 2019, which amounts to a reduction of 3%.  That seems like good news, and it certainly is on an individual level, but the traffic volume during that time dropped by much more than 3% – it was actually reduced by 16%, and one would think that we would have seen a comparable drop in fatalities. 

The NHTSA release further reported that driving behaviors and patterns shifted significantly during the national public health emergency and related lockdowns.  Many of the drivers who remained on the roads were engaging in riskier behaviors, such as failing to wear seatbelts, speeding, and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Traffic data gathered during the second quarter of 2020 indicates an increase in average speeds with instances of extreme speeds becoming more prevalent.  Crash data revealed that fewer people involved in collisions had been using their seat belts.

An Alarming Projection

The NHTSA report surmises that with these statistics showing that traffic volume decreased significantly more than the proportionate number of traffic fatalities, the rate of traffic deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is projected to increase from 1.06 in 2019 to 1.25 for the first half of 2020. The Deputy Administrator for the NHTSA noted that this trend is concerning.  He encouraged increased vigilance while driving and for people to encourage other drivers to practice safe (and sober) travel.

Fix Bad Pandemic Driving Habits Before Traffic Volume Increases

Whatever accounts for these changes in behavior, it is important that we return to sanity on the roads.  When traffic volume returns to pre-pandemic levels, if the risky behaviors continue, we could see an unacceptable rise in the number of yearly traffic fatalities.  

Redding Wrongful Death Lawyer

Hello, and thank you for reading.  My name is Ed Smith, and I have been a Redding wrongful death attorney for nearly 40 years.  Traffic fatalities leave grieving families that deserve empathy along with legal guidance when the circumstances call for the pursuit of a wrongful death lawsuit.  My law firm is well known for its compassion and can offer free and friendly advice if you have tragically lost a loved one.  It is in your best interest to act promptly following a fatal accident, as important evidence needs to be gathered.  Please call us at (530) 392-9400, or if you will be calling from outside the local area code, dial toll-free at (800) 404-5400.

My website has a page on which you can review some of my firm’s prior case results. It can be found at this link: settlements and verdicts.

Many of our past clients have graciously written reviews of our legal service.  They can be found at the sites linked below:

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