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Did COVID-19 Cause More Severe Car Crashes?

Driver with mask

When COVID-19 struck the US in early March, everything shut down. Highways that transported millions of people per day in bumper-to-bumper traffic were suddenly bare. Traffic in major cities dropped off as well, leaving crowded intersections eerily silent.

Although 2020 has seen fewer drivers on the road, this year’s car crashes are proving exceptionally fatal. Is it possible that the COVID-19 pandemic caused more severe car crashes?

The Problem

Although US traffic decreased by 50% (more in some areas) and the number of crashes followed suit, car crash fatalities have gone up when compared to numbers from 2019.

Worst of all, these numbers have been consistently high throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Traffic fatalities spiked in March 2020 and they stayed high through April, May. Since then, analysts say traffic almost returned to normal in June, but those impacted during the first three months are still impacted by these injuries and fatalities.

So here’s the big question: If there were fewer cars on the road, how could there be more crash-related deaths?

The Answer

Without fewer cars out, some drivers believed they could ignore the rules of the road. Excessive speeding was at an all-time high between March and June 2020. California alone reported an 87% increase in 100+ MPH speeding tickets when compared to totals from 2019. Other states reported as high as 150% increases in excessive speeding tickets. Without California’s notorious bumper-to-bumper traffic, many drivers felt compelled to go as fast as their vehicle would allow.

Sadly, many of those killed in these fatal accidents were excessively speeding at the time of the crash. The faster a vehicle is going, the less time a driver has to react to oncoming hazards and turns. At the same time, the damage done in a car crash increases as the speed does, meaning these high-speed crashes were not only more frequent but more deadly.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries or even wrongful death in a car crash, you might need an attorney who puts people first. If you’d like an experienced Sacramento injury lawyer from Piering Law Firm to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (916) 476-2399.