Fewer people have been on the roads thus far this year given the ongoing health crisis and the government’s response to it.
So, it is not surprising that, between April and June of this year, the number of traffic fatalities across the country declined when compared to the same time last year.
During these months of spring and early summer, 8,870 people died, which is a decrease of 300 people, or just over 3%.
Lower fatalities are due to less driving; not to better safety
However, putting this number into context, people drove about 25% less during April, May and June 2020 than they did during the same months in 2019. In other words, one would have expected the number of deaths to drop a lot more than just 3%
In fact, the fatality rate during this time spiked to 1.42 per 100 million miles driven. This represents a 30% increase over 2019 and is the highest since 2005.
People who are choosing to drive are not following the laws
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, which compiled these numbers, said that while there are fewer motorists on the road, those who are traveling seem more prone ignore speed limits and also rules prohibiting drunk or drugged driving.
The NHTSA speculated that perhaps the open roads had lured drivers into a sense of complacency that they could break important traffic laws without getting into a fatal motor vehicle accident.
Moreover, the NHTSA also noted that older drivers, who are less likely to engage in risky behavior, were more likely to stay off the roads, leaving the road to younger drivers more willing to take risky chances while behind the wheel.
Finally, NHTSA also noted that law enforcement agencies have been more prone of late to take a hands off approach to enforcing traffic laws.
Even so, drivers in the Houston area, or their families, who are victims of another motorist’s negligence may be able to hold the negligent party accountable through a lawsuit.