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Across the country, reports have shown a drastic trend in vehicle crashes surging. Since the 1960s, most years have generally shown decreased fatalities thanks to improved safety standards. However, from summer 2019 to summer 2021, deaths rose 17.5%. This increase is the largest two-year jump since just after WWII.
It’s apparent that this trend aligns perfectly with the COVID-19 pandemic. While there have been fewer cars on the road, the drivers themselves have become more dangerous.
Who Is Affected by This Surge in Traffic Accidents?
At a glance it may appear as though everyone is equally affected by vehicle crashes surging. However, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that low-income neighborhoods and Black people and Native Americans have higher chances of being in a traffic accident. According to the National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS), traffic fatalities increased amongst the Black population by 23% between 2019 and 2020. Meanwhile, the national average during this time was only 7.2%.
Pedestrian accidents have unfortunately also increased among the surge of vehicle crashes. The Los Angeles accident report, the Los Angeles Police Department stated that pedestrian deaths increased by 6% in 2021 compared to 2020. Across the country, a similar trend is happening. The New York Times reports that pedestrian deaths in 2020 rose 5% from the year prior and preliminary data indicates the number will increase in the pending 2021 report.
But, what time of year do most car accidents happen? People may be surprised to hear that winter car accidents are not as common as fall or summer accidents. Since more people are on the roads during this time, drivers should exert more caution from June through to October. Anyone with travel plans for the summer season may want to consider these rising statistics before heading out on the road.
Why the Pandemic Plays a Part in Vehicle Crashes Surging
Why do car crashes happen despite fewer cars being on the road? With fewer outlets for emotion and energy, many have turned to driving to blow off steam. Anger, frustration, stress and overwhelm are all being taken out onto the streets. This rise in emotions has resulted in more reckless driving and speeding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that during the last three quarters of 2020, average speeds increased and extreme speeds (20 miles or higher than the speed limit) became commonplace. It estimates that speeding-related fatalities increased by 11%.
As the leading cause of traffic fatalities in California, drivers operating a vehicle under the influence have also increased across the country. The NHTSA reports that nearly two-thirds of seriously or fatally injured drivers tested positive for an active drug from mid-March to mid-July 2020. The active drugs include alcohol, marijuana and opioids. In the report, drivers under the influence of opioids nearly doubled while marijuana usage increased nearly 50%.
Speak to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
While more safety features come out to protect drivers and passengers, the reality is that the person behind the wheel is really in control of the safety of those around them. At Avrek Law, we’ve heard many car accident stories and want to hear yours, too. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a car accident, reach out to our team for a free consultation. We have a no win, no fee policy and have helped secure more than $1 billion for our clients in over 25,000 cases.