Although the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders beginning in March 2020 led to a sharp decrease in vehicular traffic as people stopped commuting to work or traveling for leisure, traffic officials across the U.S. instead saw fatality rates from motor vehicle accidents increase.
Traffic Fatality Rates Puzzlingly Increase During Pandemic
Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published estimated traffic deaths from the third quarter of 2020. The NHTSA reported that deaths increased by 13.1%, or 11,260 deaths, in the third quarter. This represents the highest quarter increase of traffic deaths since 2008. The sharp increase in traffic deaths also comes as traffic levels in Q3 2020 were down 15 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The NHTSA further projects that traffic deaths are projected to have increased 4.6 percent during the first nine months of 2020 despite the dip in vehicles on the road, after the U.S. experienced three straight years of declines in traffic accident-related fatalities.
Officials Cite Increased Vehicle Speeds, Reckless Driving as Causing Higher Fatality Rates
In another report, officials from the NHTSA speeding and reckless driving as some of the main contributing factors to the increased traffic fatality rates during the pandemic. At the very beginning of the pandemic, traffic volume decreased by 50 percent, leaving more room for the drivers that were on the to speed. The NHTSA found that the rates of drivers speeding over 100 mph, not wearing seatbelts, and driving while intoxicated actually increased after the start of the pandemic. Unfortunately, studies by the Insurance Institute Information showed that drivers failed to slow down or drive more carefully as the number of vehicles on the road picked up over the summer, leading to more violent and fatal traffic accidents.
What to Do If You Are Around a Reckless Driver on the Road
If you find yourself on the road with another driver who is excessively speeding or engaging in reckless or aggressive driving, such as tailgating or weaving in and out of traffic, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself and others on the road from a dangerous driver:
First, you can take steps to avoid speeders and reckless drivers altogether by planning your trips to avoid peak driving hours, if possible. Some drivers who engaged in speeding during the early weeks of the pandemic are still getting used to heavier traffic. And heavy traffic is often a trigger for aggressive and reckless driving.
If you are being followed by a driver who is tailgating you, avoid the temptation to brake check, since it can lead to an accident. Also avoid the temptation to speed up to make space between you and the driver behind you, since a tailgater is likely to simply speed up as well. Instead, move over to the right and make room for a tailgater to pass you as soon as it is safe for you to do so.
If you find yourself near an aggressive or reckless driver, such as someone weaving through traffic or a driver that seems like they might be under the influence, try to give yourself as much room as possible between your vehicle and theirs. Make a note of the vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number. When it is safe to do so, pull off the road and contact local law enforcement or the Florida Highway Patrol to report the driver and let the police handle the situation.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured because of car accidents in Coconut Creek, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Pembroke Pines, and throughout Florida. Call 954-525-2345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Plantation, and Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.