When the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic was upon us in 2020, far fewer motorists seemed to be out on the road. People who still had to go in to work found commutes to be easy peasy with the dramatic decrease in traffic volume. Surprisingly, preliminary data shows an increase in traffic fatalities last year compared to 2019.
The rise in traffic deaths is measured both by the total number of fatalities, as well as by the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). According to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 38,680 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2020 compared to 36,096 in 2019. That’s more than a 7 percent rise. NHTSA notes this is the largest projected number of deaths since the year 2007.
The safety agency has identified the leading contributing factors to these tragic deaths:
- Drunk and impaired driving
- Failure to wear a seat belt
Occupant ejections were up 20 percent, and unrestrained occupants killed were up 15 percent. Speeding-related accidents rose 11 percent last year, and rollover crashes rose by 9 percent.
Although fewer people were on the road during the pandemic shutdowns, the NHTSA believes that there were higher rates of speeding and lower rates of seatbelt use among motorists who were on the road. Hopefully, as we reach the halfway point of 2021, these statistics will begin to show lower rates of tragic accident fatalities this year.
As experienced accident attorneys, we are here to provide answers when you need them the most. After a scary and unexpected event like a car crash, you can rely on us to let you know what your options are going forward.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Chicago or the surrounding areas, the experienced accident lawyers at Sklare Law Group can determine if you have a case to pursue maximum compensation. For a free case evaluation, please call our experienced crash attorneys at 312-263-0771.