You may have thought the traffic fatality rate would have decreased in April and May due to stay-at-home orders and the closure of non-essential businesses throughout the county.
However, despite there being much less traffic on roads throughout the nation, preliminary data from the National Safety Council (NSC) shows the motor vehicle traffic fatality rate increased in May.
The data says there was a 23.5 percent spike in the fatality rate per miles driven in May 2020 compared to May 2019. There were 1.47 million traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven – there were 1.19 fatalities per 100 million miles driven the year before. These increases happened despite the number of miles driven decreasing by 25.5 percent compared to 2019.
“We did not reap the safety benefits we should have experienced,” says NSC President Lorraine Martin.
May was the third straight month drivers were at greater risk of dying from a motor vehicle crash. In April, there was a 36.6 percent increase in the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles. The number of vehicle miles driven was down 40 percent in April compared to 2019.
Meanwhile, in March there was a 14 percent increase in the fatality rate per 100 million miles driven. The number of miles driven dropped 18.6 percent compared to March of 2019.
What is Causing the Increase in Traffic Deaths?
The cause of the increase in traffic fatalities is unclear, however, Martin thinks less traffic has caused drivers to operate their vehicles more recklessly.
According to an associate administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers may feel greater temptation to speed when roads are empty. Martin says open roads may have created an “open season” for reckless driving.
Governors Safety Association Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said the majority of crashes involve some sort of dangerous behavior, particularly things like speeding or drinking. Adkins says speed is the number one concern.
Adkins thinks traffic-calming infrastructure could help reduce the number of crashes. Data has shown that certain types of road designs are safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
Have You Been in an Accident? Call Schmidt Kramer Today
You may be able to obtain compensation for the damages you suffered in your crash. The Harrisburg car accident attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are prepared to review your situation in a free legal consultation. If we validate your claim, there are no upfront fees for hiring our firm.
We have recovered more than $100 million in compensation on behalf of our clients. We are dedicated to recovering maximum compensation to help you move forward with your life.
Call today to learn more about how we can help. Phone: (717) 888-8888.