Over the course of the first three months of 2020, the overall number of motor vehicle fatalities across the United States have decreased compared to the same period last year, according to data collected by the National Safety Council. This is attributable to there being fewer people on the road due to the coronavirus and quarantine restrictions. However, in that same period, more people died compared to the number of miles driven, indicating that although people are driving less, they are driving more dangerously.
When the coronavirus first became a serious public health concern, most states began implementing quarantine procedures to slow the spread of the disease. By the time these orders had begun to be implemented in the middle of March, overall traffic had already declined by more than 5% compared to the same point in 2019. By the end of March 2020, overall automobile mileage had dropped by more than 18% compared to March 2019.
Predictably, in that same period, the number of motor vehicle fatalities went down 8%. However, due to the drop in distance traveled during that time, it meant the overall number of fatalities has gone up per mile traveled (the so-called “mileage death rate) has gone up 14%. In other words, although people are driving less, they are getting into fatal accidents more often compared to the amount they drive.
There are a few possible reasons for this. First and foremost, emptier roads may tend to make people more reckless about following traffic laws, particularly speed limits, making individual accidents more deadly. Additionally, the stress caused by the coronavirus and the quarantine may be having a negative impact on people’s psychological health, resulting in insomnia or distraction that can increase the likelihood of an accident. Whatever the cause, however, drivers should remain cautious on the road, even if it does not seem like there are other people around.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, seeking the advice from an attorney experienced in motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents will help assure you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC assist clients in collecting the damages they need to cope with being involved in a pedestrian or motor vehicle accident. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York pedestrian and auto accident lawyers, call (888) LAW-8088 or fill out our contact form.