Did Car Accidents Increase During COVID-19 Shutdowns?

truck on road with sign about stay-at-home orders

why did car accidents increase during covid-192020 was the year of stay-at-home orders, canceled trips, lockdowns, and social distancing. Needless to say, many of us spent more time inside our homes than ever before. Yet, while there were fewer people on the road, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show a surprisingly high number of deadly car accidents.

Factors that Increased Car Crashes in 2020

The NHTSA estimates that 28,190 people died in car accidents in the first nine months of 2020, between January and September. This is a 4.6% increase in deadly car crashes in the same period from the year before when there were around 26,941 fatalities.

So, why exactly did car crashes increase during this period? In a letter addressed to the nation’s drivers, the safety agency stated that the most likely cause of these numbers was an increase in risky driving behavior that developed when fewer cars were on the road.

Specifically, some of the factors that led to more fatal car crashes in 2020 include:

  • Speeding. With fewer cars sharing the road, drivers were more likely to push speed limits; during this period, law enforcement issued twice as many speeding tickets for drivers going over 100 mph.
  • Young Drivers and Risky Behavior. With older individuals more likely to be affected by COVID-19 and stay home, more younger and inexperienced drivers were on the road; this demographic was more likely to not wear seatbelts, drive distracted, or drive while under the influence.
  • Pandemic Stress. The pandemic put a strain on many aspects of home and family life as well as had a negative impact on mental health; such factors led many individuals to use driving as a way to escape or take out their frustrations.

Injured in a Car Crash? Get Help Today

If you were injured in a car accident caused by another person during the pandemic, you have a right to pursue compensation to make up for your medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Remember, the statute of limitations in California car accident cases is two years from the date of the accident.

Time is of the essence, so don’t wait to get in touch with Fowler Helsel Vogt! Contact our firm at (559) 900-1280 to schedule your no-fee, no-obligation consultation.

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