Over the past year, the pandemic that kept California drivers at home left the roads sparse. Once busy highways and freeways were nowhere near the capacity before lockdowns while stay-at-home orders took over the state in March of last year.
Logic would dictate that fewer cars mean fewer accidents. Hope existed that fatalities would drop. However, 2020 was anything but logical, with all lives changing. In reality, the opposite was true and resulted in a grim growth of traffic-related deaths.
More room on the roads also meant higher rates of speed, with many areas of the country seeing a 35 percent jump.
The first half of the year alone saw riskier behavior with many accidents caused by drug or alcohol use. Many victims were not wearing seatbelts. The number of traffic citations issued by law enforcement skyrocketed.
According to the National Safety Council, fatal accidents jumped by 24 percent. Apparently, the wide-open roads saw drivers engaged in reckless and extremely dangerous driving. The National Safety Council revealed that more than 42,000 people lost their lives on roads throughout the United States, a jump of 8 percent from the previous year. Factoring in the 13 percent decline resulted in the tragic statistic.
The last time the NSC saw such a jump was 1924, nearly 100 years ago.
As restrictions lift and more people are getting vaccinated, life will hopefully get back to normal. What the “normal” look like remains unknown. However, many drivers may have habits that are embedded, putting more people at risk of injury and death, no matter how many vehicles are on the road in the future.