15.4 C
California
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Emptier Roads But Traffic Fatalities Soaring. Why?

It could be assumed that during a pandemic there would be fewer people driving and fewer accidents and road deaths. Actually, the picture is much more complicated—research suggests that the inverse has actually been true.

There were fewer cars on the road, everywhere

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced unsurprisingly that there were fewer cars traveling during the height of the pandemic—total traffic volume fell 16% on U.S. roads during the first half of 2020, according to Axios.

So accidents initially decreased…

In France, one of the largest car assurers Maif, announced on April 12 that it was to return €100 million ($117 million) to 2.8 million members who had assured roughly 3.8 million cars because the number of car accidents on the road had dropped by 80% in the first three weeks of the pandemic (when France enacted one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe). As Le Monde pointed out, this amounted to roughly €30 ($35) per insured car.

According to Autoplus, 250 people died on the roads in France in 2019 (an increase of 7.3% compared to March 2018) but in March 2020, this figure had decreased to 130.

… but not for professional drivers

However, it is worth noting that the number of road deaths for professional drivers of commercial or heavy-goods vehicles didn’t change–as reported by The Huffington Post. It’s another example of how frontline professions haven’t been protected from Covid-19 related issues as much as other workers.

But risky behavior increased…

Anecdotally, lots of people have talked about how people appear to be driving more carelessly and much faster and this appears to have translated into actual statistics.

A NHTSA study found that drivers who were seriously injured or were victims of fatal crashes had taken risks such as speeding, or not using seatbelts or had been driving while impaired. More drivers took alcohol, cannabinoids, and opioids during the second quarter 2020, than they apparently had done prior to the pandemic.

The Huffington Post reported that in France, excessive speeding (faster than 50km/h more than the authorized speed) increased by 12% when lockdown began (compared to the weeks before). Three weeks after France’s déconfinement (when it emerged from lockdown), 20 Minutes reported that there was an “alarming increase in fatalities” and a 15% increase in excessive speeding.

David Juillard, in the department of Road Safety at the Ministry of the Interior suggested that it could have been due to drivers wanting to feel liberated after lockdown but Juillard also suggested it was due to a lack of rule-following.

This particularly resulted in a spike in accidents involving cyclists (many of whom were new out onto the roads) not wearing helmets, not signalling when changing lanes and drivers not giving them enough due care.

… and so did fatalities

In the U.S., fatality rates increased 30% in the second quarter, reversing a three-year downward trend in road fatalities. The NHTSA believes that the pandemic pushed people towards riskier behavior but also that a lack of road safety messaging during the pandemic could have contributed.

Economic downturns generally lead to a decrease in traffic, people move less and there are fewer accidents. However, the impact of Covid-19 is unknown and there are theories that it might have the opposite impact on road safety. Research suggests that increased stress, more idle time, increased consumption of drugs and alcohol and “greater opportunities for speeding and stunt driving” would probably lead to more accidents rather than less.

Speak Your Mind

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get in Touch

211FansLike
33FollowersFollow
41FollowersFollow

Recommend for You

Walmart divides Black Friday deals into 3 separate events that kick off online

An employee works on a display ahead of Black Friday at a Walmart store in Chicago, November 20, 2018.Kamil Krzaczynski | ReutersFor shoppers who...

International Flights: India Has Established Air Bubble Pact With These Countries | Details Here

International Flights Latest News: After establishing Air Bubble arrangements with...

WHO Warning About Covid-19 Coronavirus Lockdowns Is Taken Out Of Context

Dr. David Nabarro, a Special Envoy on Covid-19 for the World Health Organization (WHO), made some ... statements...

Indian Economy to Contract by Massive 10.3% in 2020, to Bounce Back Next Year: IMF

The Indian economy, severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is...

Air India Announces Additional Flights to London January 1, Booking Begins | Details Here

International Flights: National carrier Air India has announced additional flights...

Related Articles

WWE Reportedly Planning To Leave The ThunderDome, Return To...

WWE is reportedly beginning the planning process to leave...

Nick Cannon Unveils Spoken Word Video ‘I Can’t Breathe…...

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 21: Director Nick Cannon...

WWE’s Renee Young Confirms She Has COVID-19

Renee Young has tested positive for COVID-19 ...

Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Plans $150 Million Investment Fund

Topline Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is starting a $150 million investment fund, according to...