If there was ever a time to think traffic fatalities should decrease, it would be during a global pandemic where most people are staying home and driving less. Unfortunately, that was not the case for 2019-2021. In fact, traffic fatalities increased almost 19%. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) an estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle crashes. This is the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007. This traffic accident statistic shocked those in the highway safety industry because data shows there are much fewer vehicles on the road. In this article we will break down the NHTSA’s research and beliefs for why traffic fatalities have increased but the drive time of the average American has significantly decreased.
Less cars but faster speeds
Speed is believed to be one of the main factors as to why we are seeing more fatal crashes. Recently we wrote a blog about the large increase in speeding tickets reported by officials during early pandemic days. Not only were more drivers being pulled over for going above the speed limit, there was a very large increase in extreme speeds. Extreme speeds is defined as going 20 mph above the speed limit. Erie insurance conducted a study a found the following;
“One in 10 drivers (11%) admitted to driving at extreme speeds (20 mph or more over the speed limit) much more often than normal during the early months of the pandemic. As for what they observed about other drivers, a third (33%) said it seemed like a lot more drivers than normal were speeding and of those, nearly six in 10 (57%) said they noticed more drivers going at extreme speeds.”
Speeding itself is dangerous and a large part of traffic incidents in the US. Extreme speeding is even worse. Going 20 mph above a speed limit doesn’t allow cars enough time to slow down for a crash. The difference can be life or death. Remember to slow down while driving, it isn’t worth the extreme minutes saved.
An increase in driving while under the influence
Along with increased speeds, there has been an extremely large jump in the number of DUI’s and DWI’s. Driving under the influencer accounted for 11,654 deaths. Drunk Driving as a whole accounted for 30% of all road fatalities. According to the NHTSA this past year was one of the most deadly. We have steadily seen an increase in alcohol sales since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. Although alcohol sales don’t seem to be slowing down, driving under the influence defiantly can! Remember to order a ride, designate a driver and don’t let your friends drive home drunk. If you see someone leaving a bar intoxicated don’t be afraid to let them know driving home is illegal and extremely dangerous.
This next reason given by the NHTSA surprised us. People are not wearing their seatbelts!! There has been an increase in fatalities where the driver and/or passengers were not buckled in correctly. This is easily one of the most avoidable problems. There is no reason to not where your seatbelt. No matter what seat you are sitting in! In fact the safest spot in the car is also the most deadly. The back middle seat in a vehicle can be both depending on whether or not someone is buckled in. The reason less people are wearing their seatbelts is most likely due to less cars being on the road. This gives drivers and passengers a false sense of security. Even if the road is empty always buckle up. Make sure every one in the vehicle is properly wearing their seatbelt at all times! Don’t become a statistic.
As always we wish you safe driving, especially with the Fourth of July upon us. The Fourth of July is the most deadly day of the year for driving. Please be safe, order a ride share app if needed and buckle up!!