When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States hard in March of 2020, traffic volume plummeted. As traffic started to rebound that summer, the rate of catastrophic car accidents started skyrocketing. It was the biggest one-year spike in the country’s traffic fatality rate in nearly a century. Many people hoped that the surge was a temporary blip.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case. According to a report from The New York Times, motor vehicle crashes are still surging without any real sign of slowing down. It is now a full-blown public safety crisis. Here, our Stockton car accident attorneys discuss the multi-year surge in motor vehicle collisions that dates back to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crash Crashes Surged in the Summer of Data (Increase in Risky Driving Behaviors)
The rate of fatal and catastrophic car accidents began spiking almost immediately after the first round of COVID-19 lockdowns eased and traffic volume picked up. It was a national problem. Every state in the country saw an increase in the rate of fatal motor vehicle collisions. In 2020, California actually saw a 3.2 percent of total highway deaths despite a sharp drop in driving. Public health officials theorized that the spike was driven by a number of different factors. Though, they honed in on an increase in risky driving, including speeding, distracted driving, and intoxicated driving.
A Public Safety Crisis Across America: The Trend Continues
The car accident spike in 2020 was alarming. What is even more concerning is that the trend continued into 2021. The traffic volume has largely rebounded to its pre-pandemic level in virtually every community in the United States. Yet, the risky driving behaviors (and the surge in serious accidents) continue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now released its initial data for the first nine months of 2021. The federal regulator found that “traffic fatalities continued to rise at a record pace.”
The NHTSA estimates that 31,720 were killed in motor vehicle collisions in the first nine months of 2021. For reference, that is a 12 percent spike over the previous period. Though, the traffic fatality rate for 2021 is largely similar to the rate for 2020. In effect, this means that drivers have returned to the roads at the same level as before the pandemic, but the risky driving behaviors have not reverted back to their pre-pandemic levels. This is a serious public health crisis. Without changes, it will mean thousands of additional deaths and tens of thousands of additional serious injuries annually. All communities are affected, including in San Joaquin County.
Call Our Stockton, CA Car Accident Lawyers for Immediate Help
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton car accident attorneys are standing by, ready to help you navigate the personal injury claims process. Contact us today to arrange a no-cost, no-commitment review of car accident claims. We provide personal injury representation throughout the region, including in Stockton, Lodi, Manteca, Galt, Sutter Creek, and Sacramento.