In New York, Pennsylvania and across the nation, there are a seemingly endless list or reasons to be concerned about safety on the road. This is true during normal times when people are going to work, children are going to school, leisure activities are taking place and there is not a danger of catching a deadly illness simply by walking out the door. While there was a reduction in traffic due to the ongoing health crisis impacting people all over the world, there was an unexpected rise in auto accidents and fatalities. Busy urban areas and less-traveled roads were subjected to this spike.
Speeding, distraction, DUI and fatal accidents all increased in 2020
Using New York City as a guide, the reduction in traffic did not translate into greater safety. This should be considered when people head out. Those who have been involved in a crash and were injured or lost a loved one will want to know what steps to take in the aftermath. As an example of the concerns, the latest statistics show there were 243 deaths in auto accidents in New York City in 2020. This occurred despite enhanced efforts at safety using the Vision Zero program – an initiative that has been used and mimicked in several states across the U.S. It is believed that drivers who grew tired of being trapped in their homes or were using the diminished traffic as a newfound freedom to drive at excessive speed and commit other violations contributed significantly to the higher fatality rate. Drag racing was a notable concern in multiple locations.
In 2020, there was a rise in fatalities across the board with motorcycle riders, drivers and passengers nearly doubling from 2019. This was just in New York City. Vision Zero sought to completely end traffic fatalities by 2024. While this information was from New York City, it was not alone in experiencing problems with road safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said there was a rise of overall fatalities by nearly one-third from April to June when it was compared with January to March. This coincided with the lockdown. With fewer drivers on the road, younger people were emboldened. Older drivers stayed home and more people were using various substances as a coping device. This combined to make the roads deadlier.
California saw an 87% increase in drivers cited for going 100 mph the first month the lockdown was in place. New York City has cameras to catch speeders and the number of citations doubled each day of the lockdown. Rush hour tends to prevent drivers from speeding, but emptier roads resulted in an 80% rise in speeds city drivers were going. Georgia had 140 drivers ticketed for driving beyond 100 mph over one two-week time frame.
Auto accidents can cause personal, physical and financial problems
These revelations are worrisome. After an motor vehicle accident, it is important for those who have been injured or lost a loved one to know their rights. Medical expenses, lost wages, long-term problems with being unable to work can all come up. People may worry about how they are going to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket costs and whether their insurer will cover what they have lost.
Those in Upstate New York or Pennsylvania should be cognizant of how their lives can be upended by a sudden accident. Safety is a concern and people are increasingly aware of how lives can change or be lost in an instant. For advice on how to proceed when seeking compensation, a legal firm with experience in auto accidents, investigating them and assessing the extent of injuries can be helpful. Calling for a consultation can provide advice on how to move forward with a claim.