According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), black people are disproportionately likely to die in traffic accidents compared to the rest of the population. This effect was even more pronounced during the pandemic, when black people suffered a much higher rate of traffic fatalities, even as the rate of traffic fatalities was increasing overall. No specific explanation was given for this effect by the NHTSA, although some blame the increased deaths on existing issues of inequality.
What Did the Data Say?
According to the NHTSA, the number of traffic fatalities went up by about seven percent during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite an overall drop in the amount of people driving. However, when looking only at black people, that number went up by about 23 percent, or more than seven times the rate of the rest of the population. When looking over the period from 2015 to 2019, prior to the pandemic, researchers found that black people were overall about 25% more likely to die in a traffic accident than the rest of the population. They were also about twice as likely to die in a pedestrian accident compared to the rest of the population.
Explaining The Disparity During the Pandemic
When looking at why black people were so much more likely to die in a traffic accident during the pandemic, researchers pointed to a few factors. First, black people were much more likely to be classified as “essential workers,” meaning they were going to work at a time when many other people were staying home. In addition, they were much less likely to be employed in jobs that allowed them to work from home, rather than commuting and putting themselves at a risk of an accident.
Explaining the Disparity Overall
More generally, though, black people tend to live in communities where roads are less safe and more likely to result in an accident. A lack of infrastructure investment in communities of color means their roads tend to be in poorer condition, and are less likely to have effective traffic controls that reduce the risk of traffic accidents. This systemic inequality was compounded by problems caused by the pandemic, leading to a disproportionately high number of traffic fatalities compared to the rest of the population.
Another potential issue is a lack of access to adequate medical care. Medical facilities in black neighborhoods tend to be understaffed and under-equipped compared to those in white neighborhoods, making it harder for them to deal with medical emergencies. This effect was made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, when emergency rooms were filled with COVID-19 patients, delaying treatment for accident victims and increasing the risk of death.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence or dangerous roadway conditions, seeking the advice from an attorney experienced in personal injury law 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 the victim of negligence. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York personal injury lawyers, call (888) LAW-8088 or fill out our contact form.