U.S. roads became significantly more deadly in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although figures for the full year will not be available for some time, NHTSA has calculated the number of deaths on our roads in the first nine months of 2020, and the news is bleak. Between the beginning of January and the end of September last year, 28,1
What makes this increase even worse news is that 2019 actually saw one reduce in traffic fatalities, which fell by two percent compared to 2018. In fact, when NHTSA published the 2019 statistics at the end of December last year, it included a preliminary analysis of the first half of 2020 and found that traffic volume fell by 16 percent, and traffic fatalities fell by 3.3 percent in the same period.
(As the decrease in completed vehicle environments was greater than the decrease in deaths, the death rate per 100 million completed vehicle environments actually increased from 1.06 to 1.25 when comparing 1H 2019 and 1H 2020.)
Things got much, much worse in the months between July and September, when deaths rose by a massive 13.3 percent. The primary sinner? Empty roads that encourage motorists to drive faster. Over the course of 2020, several states have reported large increases in speed tickets, and especially those issued to motorists traveling 25 km / h (40 km / h) or more above the speed limit. To make matters worse, it seems that more of the drivers who get into collisions are found with drugs or alcohol in their system, and fewer have used seat belts.
Around the country, hospitals are bowing under the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic with complete intensive care unit and no spare capacity to deal with people driving too fast and then crashing. Just because the roads are empty does not make them your private racetracks – slow down and make sense, because if you get into a crash, you may find that the hospital can not actually save your life.