Did the Coronavirus Pandemic Result in More Traffic Fatalities? Experts Are Saying “Yes.”

August 7, 2020

Pandemic caused more car accident deaths Pittsburgh, PA

With the majority of the state having strict stay-at-home orders for a large portion of this year, you’d think that the rate of motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents would have gone down, right? Unfortunately, according to a recent report by the National Safety Council, the opposite is true. Their report showed that traffic fatalities had tragically increased with every 100 million miles driven since the pandemic first started. Find out what’s causing this tragic uptick below – and what experts are doing to help combat it.

Cause for the Uptick

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in March, Pennsylvania State Police report that they have given out more than 100 citations for excessive speeding when compared to this time last year. Excessive speeding is when an individual is driving at a speed of more than 100 miles per hour. Unfortunately, less motor vehicles on the road may be the reason why so many drivers have engaged in this dangerous driving behavior.

President and CEO of the National Safety Council, Lorraine Martin said the following about the recent uptick in citations: “It’s clear that our open roads have created somewhat of an open season for reckless driving.” Ms. Martin isn’t wrong; the death rate for motor vehicle accidents was 1.2 in March, 1.45 in April and 1.47 in May – the height of the Coronavirus restrictions. These figures are in stark contrast to the same months in 2019. In March of 2019, the death rate was 1.07, whereas in April and May it was 1.08 and 1.19, respectively.

Social Distancing Led to Less Citations

According to reports from the Pennsylvania State Police, approximately 50 percent less citations were given to drivers during the most stringent months of the lockdown (March through May). This was done in accordance to social distancing guidelines and in an effort to only pull over those who were committing egregious traffic violations. However, Trooper Steve Limani, a spokesperson for the troops who monitor Allegheny County said, “I think the word on the street was that we weren’t pulling people over.” However, Limani went on to say that “We definitely were using our discretion to maintain social distance with minor things, but we were definitely not ignoring extreme violators.”

Combating Aggressive Driving

When speaking about the uptick in road fatalities, Lorraine Martin said the following: “Unfortunately, the pandemic has actually exposed our national road safety culture for what it really is — deeply flawed and unfortunately in need of some immediate action.” She went on to say, “We took cars off the roads, but we did not reap the safety benefits we should have experienced. Instead, for every mile driven our roads became deadlier even though they were much emptier.”

This is why panelists are pushing for a study to be conducted as to why the road deaths have increased. However, panelists do believe that less cars on the road gave incentive for many drivers to speed. Jake Nelson, the director of traffic safety with AAA said that while people have always liked to drive fast, there can’t be a “one size fits all” solution to combating the problem of excessive speeding. Jonathan Adkins, the executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Administration echoed Nelson’s sentiment. He said, “It’s a big issue that no one addresses. The best thing we can do is enforce the laws.”

The injuries another driver, pedestrian or bicyclist can suffer as a result of a speeding driver can be catastrophic, if not life-changing. If you or someone you love was injured in an accident that was caused by a speeding driver and suffered a severe injury like a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, it’s important to not delay in seeking legal representation. Our firm knows that an accident resulting from this kind of reckless behavior often leads to extensive medical bills, missed time off work and ongoing rehabilitative care. That’s why we will work with you to hold the person responsible for your accident accountable for their negligence.

Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case in Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of car and pedestrian accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 564-4770 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Avenue, Pittsburg, PA, 15212.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.