North Carolina sees increase in traffic fatality rate during COVID-19
COVID-19 cases have been rising in North Carolina over the last month, prompting a need for prolonged social distancing measures. While social distancing may keep us safe from the virus, it could have other consequences — on North Carolina roads.
Even when we start to progress back to somewhat normal, fewer people will travel. This is due to event cancellations, employees working from home, and more people ordering retail items online rather than visiting shopping malls.
You would think that less traffic would mean fewer crashes, but not according to preliminary data examined by the National Safety Council (NSC).
What is the increase in the traffic fatality rate?
So far, there has been a 36.6 percent increase in traffic fatalities across the U.S. during 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Speeding and reckless driving may be the cause.
When traffic congestion is low, some drivers may see an opportunity to travel at dangerous speeds. When the pandemic first emerged, the Governors Highway Safety Association revealed a sharp increase in speeding and aggressive driving. Many drivers were clocked at speeds greater than 100 mph.
The increase in dangerous driving is apparent in the traffic fatality rate. In April 2020, the number of miles driven by Americans dropped by 40 percent from the same period in 2019. Yet, in April 2020, the mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven was 1.47. This is a sharp increase from 1.08 in April 2019. In March 2020, the rate was 1.22, up from 1.07 in March 2019.
The overall increase in the traffic fatality rate during the first quarter of 2020 (January to April), in comparison to the same period in 2019, didn't show up in all states. Some states, such as Idaho, Oregon, and South Carolina, saw a decrease. North Carolina, on the other hand, saw a seven percent increase in the traffic fatality rate from 2019.
As states transition back to normal, we could see an increase in crashes. More people will begin to travel by car and mix with pedestrians and bicyclists. In addition, as bars and restaurants open back up, we could see an increase in drunk driving, which accounted for nearly 30 percent of all North Carolina traffic fatalities in 2018.
Take action if you were injured in a car accident
If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash, you have the right to take legal action. You can pursue damages from the at-fault driver's insurance company. To learn how, speak to a Wilmington car accident attorney with more than 35 years of experience helping crash victims and their families get the compensation they deserve.
Contact The Law Offices of Richard Flexner to schedule your free confidential case evaluation.