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Lower Car Accident Deaths during Pandemic? Think Again.

The pandemic has required many to stay at home from work and school, leaving far few vehicles on the roads,  However, contrary to expectations, the number of highway accident deaths in the United States actually increased significantly during the first half of 2020. This was in spite of the lower traffic volumes during the pandemic.

As the Covid-19 pandemic began spreading across the United States, many states including Georgia imposed shelter-in-place orders, discouraging travel, and shutting down businesses. This led to significant drops in traffic volumes from March right through June this year.

That should typically have resulted in lower accident death rates. This, however, has not happened. If anything, the highway fatality rate has actually increased. According to the National Safety Council, there has been a significant 20% increase in the number of highway accident deaths in the first 6 months of 2020, compared to the same period of time in 2019. This increase has occurred even in the face of lower traffic volumes, as a result of the pandemic. The highway accident death rate has increased even though there was a 17% drop in the number of miles travelled by American motorists in the first 6 months of 2020.

In fact, according to the National Safety Council, there was a significant increase in traffic accident deaths in the month of June, which is when many states, including Georgia, began to relax their shelter-in-place orders. Traffic volumes began to pick up, especially as Atlantans headed into summer, which typically sees high traffic volumes.

According to traffic safety advocates, there has also been an increase in rash driving once Covid-19 travel restrictions were relaxed. There seems to have been an increase in speeding and other forms of aggressive driving. Some of this rash driving can be attributed to the possibility that motorists, who had been confined by shelter-in-place protocols for several months, have thrown safety and caution to the wind, and have been reckless while driving. That has increased accident rates, and consequently, death rates as well. This data seems to be corroborated by other organizations including the Governor’s Highway Safety Association which states that speeding is on an increase across much of the country.

Many safety experts are also blaming this increase in car accidents during the pandemic on driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  Substance abuse has increased as the economy has crashed, and employment numbers have risen. In addition, with the roads less busy than usual, motorists have been more inclined to be distracted behind the wheel and engaged in other forms of negligent driving, increasing their accident risks.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you may qualify for compensation for your losses. Talk to an Atlanta car accident attorney at the Katz Law Firm, and discuss your legal options for a claim for compensation for damages. You may be eligible for damages that include medical expenses, lost income, lost future earnings, pain and suffering and other types of damages. Talk to an attorney at our firm and get a free evaluation of your claim.   

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