It has been easy to see the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on everyday life. Those who drive around Houston have undoubtedly noticed a decrease in traffic. Though there have been fewer cars on the streets across America since March, a new report says the number of fatal motor vehicle crashes has actually increased in some places.

The National Safety Council (NSC) said roadway deaths increased in the first three months of the year in 11 states, including Texas.

Grim totals

While traffic fatalities here rose 6 percent compared to the same period last year, the counts in all of the other states (except Tennessee) were even higher:

  • 42 percent: Connecticut
  • 23 percent: Louisiana
  • 17 percent: New York
  • 16 percent: Arkansas
  • 11 percent: Illinois
  • 10 percent: Nevada
  • 10 percent: North Carolina
  • 9 percent: Oklahoma
  • 6 percent: Tennessee

Many traffic safety experts say that with Americans driving less and traveling fewer miles, the increases in fatalities are inexplicable.

The NSC also said that “early (national) data indicates a year-over-year 14 percent jump in fatality rates per miles driven in March” of this year, despite the fact that Americans drove 8.6 percent fewer miles during the same period of 2019.

Death rate is up

That means that the 1.22 mileage death rate per 100 million miles driven in March 2020 is significantly higher than the 1.07 rate in March of last year.

Fortunately, some states have had fewer fatal motor vehicle crashes in the pandemic-stricken year when compared to 2019:

  • -32 percent: Hawaii
  • -28 percent: Idaho
  • -24 percent: Oregon
  • -13 percent: Iowa
  • -13 percent: Maryland
  • -12 percent South Carolina
  • -12 percent Michigan
  • -4 percent: Arizona

Though no one knows why fatal crashes have increased in Texas and other states, the NSC has said a couple of reasons could be in play, including an increase in distracted driving. The organization also believes that the relatively open roads this year have been interpreted by some drivers as an invitation to drive faster.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a car accident, contact a Houston attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.