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How the Pandemic Made Risky Speeding Behaviors Normal

Yet another study finds that as lockdown went into effect around the country in the early months of 2020, many motorists began driving cars at speeds higher than their normal speeds.  Of course, this greatly increased the risk of car accidents resulting in severe injuries or death. Safety advocates fear that many of these behaviors might be hard to shake off now.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted a study in the state of Virginia that only confirms what federal data has indicated recently – that speeding as a motoring behavior has become much more widespread since 2020.  In the new study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers analyzed data from several Virginia Department of Transportation speed counters.  The analysis then compared the percentage of drivers who were driving 10 mph above the speed limit between March and June 2020.

They found that while traffic volumes dropped by a significant 25% across the state, there was a 30% to 40% increase in the number of vehicles driving at 10 mph over the speed limit, compared to the same period of time in 2019. The only place where there was little difference in the number of speeding drivers was in rural areas where the numbers remained unchanged.  Elsewhere across the state, speeds accelerated even as traffic volumes fell.  On weekdays, there was a 43% increase in the number of motorists driving at least 10 mph above the speed limit, but during weekends, that percentage increased to 63%. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research found that motorists were comfortable driving at excessive speeds because of the lack of rush hour traffic.

 Many of these speeding behaviors, unfortunately, continued even after the lockdown ended and traffic volumes went back to normal.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers found that speeds continued to remain high during the rest of 2020 and 2021.

The increase in speed had a direct impact on the number of people killed in auto accidents.  Federal data shows a 7% increase in the number of people killed in car accidents in 2020, even with an unprecedented drop in traffic volumes.  What should have been a safe time to drive instead become the deadliest time to be on the roads in recent years.  Now that traffic volumes are normal, it is imperative that law enforcement agencies take strong action to combat speeding, including the installation of speed cameras and more stringent enforcement in order to prevent accidents and encourage safe driving behavior.

The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.  If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages.   You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages.  Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.

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