Roadways Become More Lethal During Pandemic

Fatalities were down as people drove less — but they should have been down much more.

Statistics recently unveiled by the National Safety Council showed that in March, despite safer-at-home mandates producing fewer miles driven by U.S. drivers, the fatality rate per mile driven went up by 14% when compared with March 2019.

In particular, the data showed that speeding and reckless driving were the primary contributors to a disproportionate number of crashes and related deaths.

Ken Kolosh, the council’s manager of statistics, recently told the Washington Post that, “Although an 8% decrease in deaths from one March to the next … is great news, that decrease should have been even greater ... We should have seen closer to an 18% decrease in deaths.”

Although the number of miles driven decreased by nearly 19%, the number of crash-related deaths and an increase in average speeds has actually led to an increase in some law enforcement patrolling.

About 40,000 people die on U.S. roads each year. Traffic-related deaths were up 2% for the first quarter of 2020.

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