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Less Driving in 2020 Doesn’t Automatically Mean Safer Roads

We were surprised to find that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was a 7.2% increase in vehicle-related fatalities in 2020 despite there being far fewer vehicles on the road due to COVID-19 protocols.

That increase comes out to an estimated 38,680 fatalities in 2020 compared to 36,096 in 2019. These findings are shocking for one primary reason; wouldn’t you think fewer cars on the road and fewer miles driven would mean safer roads? Not necessarily.




Many Factors Could Be Causing the Upturn

The NHTSA states that there are multiple factors at play that made 2020 a deadlier year for drivers. To name a few:

  • Traffic speeds increase overall
  • Drivers that were on the road engaged is statistically “riskier” driving
  • Driving patterns changed significantly due to COVID-19 protocols
  • Overall, more drivers operated vehicles while under the influence

What would cause this significant change? The NHTSA is still trying to determine that. However, human behavior is hard to pin down. Was 2020 simply a bleak year for us? Did we care less about our safety? Maybe times were so hard for a lot of us that many turned to alcohol and drugs, some taking them with them even on the road. Who knows!

Driving, Like Everything, Can Be a “Quality” over “Quantity” Situation

If one thing can be gleaned from the report by the NHTSA, it’s that cars on the road do not necessarily make driving any safer or more dangerous. The contributing factor, instead, seems to be the quality of driving that is occurring. While you’d be hard-pressed to discern this factor on your own, we can suggest a few ways to help avoid these “low-quality” behaviors.

  • Avoid driving late at night or early morning, when impaired drivers may be heading home from a particularly long bender
  • Buckle up and drive defensively
  • Don’t become part of the statistic; avoid drugs and alcohol when operating a vehicle
  • Drive at the speed limit
2020 Was a Year, Wasn’t It?

We’re all lucky to have made it through 2020. Some of us came out clean and some of us might have run into some trouble along the way. If you’ve been involved in an accident, or need any other legal help, we’re here to make the rest of 2021 a much better year for you.

Just give us a call.