U.S. and PA Traffic Deaths Up in 2020, Highest Number Since 2007

June 21, 2021

Pittsburgh car accident deaths rise in 2020 Pittsburgh, PA

According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths nationwide saw an increase during 2020. Pennsylvania also saw traffic fatalities in the state increase in 2020.

Increased Rates of Traffic Fatalities Nationwide

The NHTSA reported that traffic fatalities rose 7 percent in 2020, the largest such increase in 13 years. An estimated total of 38,680 individuals died in motor vehicle accidents across the U.S. Motorcycle rider fatalities also increased 9 percent, totaling 5,015 deaths, while bicyclist deaths rose by 5 percent and totaled 846 individuals. 

These numbers come despite the total number of miles traveled decreasing by 13 percent compared to 2019. 

Pennsylvania Also Saw Traffic Deaths Up

Data from PennDOT also shows that traffic deaths are up in Pennsylvania. The agency reports that the state saw 1,129 traffic fatalities in 2020, up from a record low of 1,059, resulting in an approximately 6 percent increase. 

Why Were Fatal Traffic Accidents Up in 2020?

The increase in traffic fatalities in 2020 is puzzling to many, especially given the significant decrease in traffic for much of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One theory suggests that the heavily reduced traffic, particularly in the early months of the pandemic, encouraged excessive speeding for those drivers still on the road who were faced with nearly empty highways, especially in places that experience frequent gridlock. With drivers driving 20, 30, or even 40 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limits, this led to an increased risk of fatalities when accidens did occur, especially as traffic began to pick back up in the summer. Even though traffic began to resume in the second half of 2020, many drivers who had become accustomed to speeding down empty highways often failed to adjust and slow down. 

Read more: Rate of Traffic Deaths Still Climbing, According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation

What to Do If You Are Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident

If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash, you can take steps to protect your legal rights and options by:

  • Notifying law enforcement of the accident or filing a driver’s accident report following the crash.
  • Exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved in the crash.
  • Taking photos or video of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles involved in the wreck, and any visible injuries you may have sustained.
  • Getting examined by paramedics at the accident scene or seeing your primary physician or a doctor at an ER or clinic after the crash to check for any injuries you may have suffered.
  • Following all treatment instructions you receive from your treating provider.
  • Keeping all bills and invoices from your medical treatment and any other expenses you incur due to the accident.
  • Avoiding discussing the accident on social media, and avoiding posting photos or videos of yourself while still undergoing treatment for serious injuries you may have suffered in the crash. Insurance companies monitor accident victims’ social media accounts for posts that might contradict the accident victim’s formal claims about the accident or their injuries. 
  • Talking to a motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible about your legal rights and options and what next steps you can take to begin pursuing a financial recovery after the crash.

Read more: Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit After My Accident?

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 motor vehicle accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a  consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, 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.