Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report detailing a rise in accidents across the country in the year 2020. From the beginning of the year until September, the number of crashes rose from roughly 26,000 in 2019 to roughly 28,000 in 2020. The NHTSA will not have data for the full year until the fall of this year. However, the authorities have blamed the increase in accidents on an increase in risky driving due to the pandemic.
The NHTSA stated that people who were out and about during the early lockdown of the pandemic drove riskier than they normally would. There were fewer cars on the road, and because of this people felt they could go faster and make riskier decisions than they otherwise would have in a normal time, with more cars on the road.
An official with the NHTSA noted in the report that people assumed that law enforcement presence on the roadways was down during the pandemic, and because of that assumed they could get away with more instances of reckless driving. This explains the speeding, and also explains the higher number of lethal accidents as well.
According to the data provided, fatal accidents rose about 0.6% in the beginning of the year, fell by about 1.1% in the middle of the year, but from the months of June to September, they rose 13.1%. This alarming increase in the number of fatal accidents shows just how risky and reckless people were being on the roadways. In this report the NHTSA stated that in metropolitan areas, there was a 22% increase in speeds. This contributed to the amount of accidents, they said.
Another factor contributing to the increase in accidents was an increase in drivers who had drugs or alcohol in their systems, according to this report. A study found that the number of drivers who were treated at trauma centers with alcohol or drugs in their systems had increased from 50.6% in 2019 to 65% in 2020. The NHTSA report noted that this increase in impaired driving comes as more people see a decrease in the presence of law enforcement on the roads during the pandemic. People thought that because there was a decrease in the presence of law enforcement on the roads, that they were less likely to be caught doing this risky and reckless behavior.
This is a trend that cannot continue. It is of the utmost importance that people stop driving recklessly and needlessly endangering their lives and the lives of others on the roadways. The NHTSA has encouraged people to drive safely, wear seatbelts, ensure that any children in the vehicle are in the proper car seat, and to follow any and all laws when operating a motor vehicle.
During these times, while there may be less people traveling, it is important to follow all the rules and laws of the road. It ensures the safety of not just you, but those driving on the road around you. Reckless driving should not be going on regardless of whether there is a larger or smaller number of people on the roads. This can reduce serious injuries to everyone on the road, from the people who could cause accidents to those involved in accidents through no fault of their own.
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