Auto accidents are a prime concern throughout California. To reduce their frequency, it is important for researchers, legislators and law enforcement to track the total and analyze why they are happening. While behaviors are a major catalyst for collisions with injuries and death, there can be other factors. Often, societal circumstances play a major role in accident cause and frequency. Experts expected there to be a reduction in accidents in 2020 because of the ongoing health crisis and the lifestyle changes made necessary by it. Surprisingly, there was a major increase in fatalities. Knowing how and why may be important for those who were hurt or lost a loved one and are thinking about what they should do next.
National Safety Council sees surprising rise in fatal crashes
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the nationwide reduction in overall traffic volume did not reduce the number of road deaths as it expected. Instead, there was a major increase. The current calculations say there were more than 42,000 people killed in auto accidents in 2020. That was a rise of 8% from 2019. Although the increase in fatalities was worrisome, what made it worse was the 13% reduction in miles driven. When that is added in, the fatality total spiked by nearly one-quarter. That is the worst increase in nearly a century.
It is possible that the total will grow worse when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) releases its numbers. Their research will include why the accidents happened. It is believed that drivers have taken liberties with fewer vehicles on the road and less traffic enforcement by speeding, behaving recklessly, driving under the influence, driving while distracted and committing other violations. The biggest problem was speeding with drivers averaging 35% higher speeds in urban areas than the year before. Accidents decreased, but their severity was worse. In California, one study assessed crashes over nearly two months and found there were 29% fewer accidents, but people with serious injuries in accident that did happen rose by nearly 15%.
Professional guidance may be needed after motor vehicle accidents
These motor vehicle accident statistics are worrisome not just while the health crisis is going on, but will continue to be so after the landscape returns to some semblance of normalcy. Drivers might have grown accustomed to risky behaviors and make the roads treacherous. People who have been seriously hurt or lost a loved one in an accident should know the available options to recover compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and more. Having advice and help from experienced professionals could be imperative from the start.