Traffic fatality rate spiked during coronavirus even as traffic volumes shrunk – Roadshow

Drivers performed riskier video games this yr.

David McNew/Getty Photographs

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There’s excellent news and dangerous information within the Nationwide Freeway Security Administration’s newest visitors fatality knowledge report. Launched on Thursday, the information covers 2019 as an entire and supplies preliminary knowledge by means of the second quarter of 2020. Final yr, fatalities declined, which is excellent information. This yr, nevertheless, the fatality price spiked amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That, readers, shouldn’t be excellent news for the reason that knowledge exhibits visitors quantity fell 16% throughout the first six months of 2020. Whereas the variety of fatalities is definitely decrease than the identical level in 2019 (8,870 visitors deaths, down 3.3%), the visitors fatality price per 100 million car miles pushed rose from 1.06 to a predicted 1.25. In different phrases, for each 100 million miles motorists drove within the first half of this yr, a couple of individual misplaced their life. A lower of three.3% is slightly alarming, noting what number of fewer motorists have been really on the street throughout the tightest lockdown restrictions as COVID-19 unfold within the US.

NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens mentioned the development of a better fatality price since April is “regarding.” Whereas compiling the information, NHTSA seen a development that drivers who remained on the roads engaged in far riskier behavior, equivalent to rushing, not carrying a seatbelt and driving inebriated or medicine. Between mid-March and mid-July, NHTSA additionally collected knowledge from taking part trauma facilities when a severely or fatally injured driver arrived for therapy; 67% of drivers examined optimistic for at the very least one energetic drug, together with alcohol. Motorists operating a vehicle whereas taking opioids virtually doubled, and marijuana use rose an excellent 50%.

Evaluating 2018 to 2019 is a a lot better image, the information exhibits. All sorts of visitors fatalities dropped, with the most important decreases in motorized vehicle and cycling fatalities; visitors fatalities fell 2.8%, whereas fatalities involving cyclists fell 2.9%. Fatalities involving pedestrians decreased 2.7% and bike fatalities fell 0.5%. General, the fatality price dropped to its lowest level since 2014 to 1.10 per 100 million car miles traveled.

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Sean Szymkowski