Traffic was down this year, but fatal accidents increased: What happened?

Many areas in the United States experienced a dramatic shift to at-home work early this year, and that has definitely eased problems with traffic on the roads. Economic concerns and other issues have also pushed a lot of people to limit travel and shop online.

Yet, roadway fatalities rose 30% in the United States during the second quarter of 2020, wiping out the gains made in the last three years.

Why? Well, there are probably several different reasons:

  • There are more trucks on the road. While people are staying home and working from home more often, online shopping has exploded. That means semitrucks and delivery vehicles are everywhere — and those drivers are often overworked, rushed and tired.
  • People are taking unnecessary chances for thrills. Research indicates that people are experiencing more stress than normal, and they’re often at loose ends with extra time on their hands. Some of those people have chosen to take advantage of the empty roads by seeing just how fast their vehicles will go — and that’s led to fatal wrecks.
  • More drivers are drinking and using drugs. There are indications that alcohol and marijuana consumption have skyrocketed this year, and that’s leading to more impaired drivers on the road. Many of these may be what people call “practice drunks,” or people who don’t really know how to tell when they’re too impaired to drive.

One thing is for certain: It’s a mistake to think that less traffic on the road equates to more safety for drivers. It could be just the opposite. If you’re involved in a serious crash or your loved one is killed in a wreck, find out more about your right to seek compensation for your losses.


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