According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 38,680 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This figure represented the largest number of motor vehicle accident fatalities since 2007. As more people remained at home during the pandemic, fewer drivers were out on the roads. However, despite the decrease in the number of people driving, the fatality rate increased.
What are the Causes?
An increase in traffic fatalities while there is a decrease in drivers on the road, leads to the question: How could this happen? The trend is cause for concern, and there are several explanations.
One cause for the sharp increase in traffic fatalities was that drivers were simply more willing to take risks when less traffic was on the road. With fewer cars to contend with, motorists may have felt that they could speed or make other dangerous decisions without consequence.
With fewer cars on the road, drivers would take advantage of the open space by driving recklessly. Reckless driving can include speeding, running red lights, swerving in and out of traffic, and tailgating.
Driving While Impaired
Motor vehicle accident fatalities due to drunk driving increased by 9 percent in 2020. This is a stark reminder of the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents, and it continues to claim lives despite advancements in safety technology.
Alcohol Use During the Pandemic
The purpose of quarantining during a pandemic is to prevent the spread of the disease. However, quarantining can also have a significant impact on one's mental health. Quarantining can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as anxiety and depression, which some people choose to self-medicate with substances like alcohol. While drinking may provide temporary relief from negative emotions, it can also lead to dangerous behaviors, including drunk driving.
Nighttime and Weekend Driving
Car accidents were more likely to occur during nighttime and weekend driving. The above study found that while there were fewer drivers on the road, the fatality rate was significantly higher. This is thought to be due to a combination of factors, including impaired visibility and driver fatigue. In addition, the study found that alcohol-related accidents were also more likely to occur during nighttime and weekend driving.
Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Seat belts are effective at preventing serious injuries and death in the event of a crash, yet many people still choose to ride without one. The reasons for this are manifold, but often come down to a perceived sense of invulnerability. In 2020, the NHTSA recorded that occupant ejection increased 20 percent from the previous year.
Seat belts are one of the most important safety devices in motor vehicles today. Wearing a seat belt can significantly reduce the risk of severe injuries or death in an accident. Studies have shown that seat belts can reduce the severity of injuries by up to 50 percent. This is because seat belts help to keep occupants in their seats, preventing them from being ejected from the vehicle or thrown around inside the cabin.
Car Accident Attorneys in Clearwater, Florida
The Idrizi Law Group is committed to helping car accident victims obtain the compensation and justice they deserve. Our experienced team of legal professionals will fight for your rights every step of the way. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that car accidents can take on victims and their families, and we will do everything we can to help you recover. We will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
If you have been involved in a car accident that resulted in injury or death, call us today at (727) 202-5499 or fill out our form online for a free initial consultation.