New statistics show an unexpected spike in car accident deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’ve driven around Southern California and thought you’re seeing more reckless drivers on the roadway, you are not alone. This is a trend that has been witnessed around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s now being reflected in car accident death statistics.
The tally has even shocked experts – 38,680 deaths on U.S. roadways just in the last year – the most since 2007 even though pandemic lockdowns had drastically reduced driving.
Even researchers at the National Safety Council were perplexed by this unprecedented increase, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. One reason for this surge, they say, could be that Americans were releasing their anxieties on wide-open roads. They were hoping and predicting that the number of deadly crashes would drop in 2021 would decline when traffic returned.
Dangerous Driving Leading to Car Accident Deaths
But they were wrong about that. The latest evidence suggests that after decades of safety gains, the pandemic has made U.S. drivers more reckless, more likely to speed, drink or use drugs and leave their seatbelts unfastened.
Experts say people have adopted some extremely unsafe driving habits during the pandemic, and that they are not going to go away. They believe that such behavior on the road is likely a reflection of feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression, which have worsened during the pandemic.
The Times reports that this surge in car accident deaths lines up with other pandemic-era trends. Alcohol sales have soared, drug overdoses have set new records and homicides have seen their biggest increase on record. COVID-19 has unleashed a sense of rebellion among people who have been cooped up, locked down, and restricted or limited at every turn.
Compare this to the progress in safety this nation had made before the pandemic thanks to the enforcement of seatbelt laws, the advent of airbags, improved braking and stability control in vehicles, and other safety features. Even as the traffic on roads increased and many states increased their speed limits, annual crash deaths fell from around 55,000 in 1970 to 36,096 in 2019. In 2020, deaths increased by 7.2% followed by an 18% surge in the first six months of 2021.
Protecting Your Rights
Sadly, these types of dangerous behaviors and recklessness on the road translate to more accidents, injuries, and fatalities. It increases the likelihood of us getting involved in a car accident.
It is important to understand that if you have been injured in a crash due to someone else’s recklessness or negligence, you have legal rights. You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against one or more parties that were responsible for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, and pain and suffering.
An experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.