Many Americans were forced into lockdown and strict stay-at-home orders
in 2020. This led to a sharp decrease in traffic and vehicles on the roads
and highways. Unfortunately, it did not lead to a decrease in driving-related
deaths. In fact, there was a large spike in traffic-related deaths in
part to reckless driving.
National Safety Council reported that over 42,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the
United States in 2020. That represented an 8% increase over 2019, which
marked the first increase in four years.
Last year’s death toll was the highest for the first time in almost
13 years. In 2007, as many as 43,945 people were estimated to have died
in motor vehicle crashes. The National Safety Council also reported that
an estimated 4.8 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2020.
“Unfortunately, reckless driving and distracted driving likely played
a large role in a lot of these crashes,” according to
Attorney Zach Campbell, at the personal injury firm, Metzger Wickersham. “Locally, in 2020
we did see a few months where there was a decrease in calls from people
injured in crashes, but it was not a major decrease,” he added.
“Surprisingly, we still had dozens of inquiries from people who
were badly injured as a result of reckless driving despite less people
being on the roads.”
Empty roads also likely contributed to the uptick in crash related deaths.
Drivers on empty roads were more emboldened to drive at extreme speeds.
The National Safety Council said that travelling over 100 mph makes crashes
more severe. Less traffic likely led to more dangerous driving behaviors.
As traffic is getting back to pre-pandemic levels, the bad driving habits
are not going away. “Even with safer cars being built, we are still
seeing tragic cases involving bad and reckless driving habits. Distracted
driving remains our number one concern,” stated Attorney Campbell.
“We just hope 2021 can be a safer year for everyone on the roads.”
If you have been injured as a result of a motor vehicle crash, call the
attorneys at Metzger Wickersham for a free consultation to make sure your
rights are protected.