The Year of Driving Less—but More Dangerously

In theory, bring A society going to a scary halt should curb traffic deaths. No one goes to bars and then drives home; Some are coming to work; Occasional visits to the grocery store do not demand excessive speed.

So when the country is on the verge of swearing in the middle of this year COVID-19 Pandemic, the results were easy to predict. Leading public health officials, many people stopped traveling. Therefore, according to recently available government data, traffic deaths have decreased, at least in the first half of the year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which tracks traffic fatalities, it is said 16,650 people died on US roads from January through June, compared with a drop of 2 percent compared to 16,988 in the same period a year earlier.

But the amount of transportation Fell too much. As a result, more people died per mile traveled – 1.25 per 100 million miles in the first half of the year, while 1.06 in the same period in 2019 and the highest rate since 2008. From April to June, the figures were even more severe: Deaths per mile traveled increased by 31 percent compared to 2019, a figure commonly said by government researchers Called “Striking.”

When a pandemic outbreak began on the roads, there were “people who were saying we were going to have a demise day”, says Robert Wunderlich, a transportation researcher on the roads and director of the Center for Transport Safety at the Robert Transport Institute. “Then we turned around, and it didn’t. It’s really disappointing, to be honest.”

The numbers illustrate how Kovid-19 has led to other public health emergencies, because of the social impact with the epidemic in every part of American life and the failure of officials.

Now, researchers are considering whether the relative spike in deaths is a blip or a sign of deeper problems on the roadways – a way to attract attention from law and policymakers. “This is something that transportation analysts and researchers are going to study for a long time,” says Bob Pissue, senior economist at traffic analytics firm Inrix.

Evidence suggests that the epidemic is, at times, a road safety storm. Open roads attract high speed. Police reduced traffic enforcement due to reduced traffic volume and reduced arrests for minor offenses to protect the health of officers A government survey. And spikes in drug and alcohol use were seen in many places, Public health officials give principles Stress, boredom, and lack of a regular schedule are associated. In a study, 65 percent of those killed in accidents in the first four months of the epidemic tested positive for at least one drug, and those who tested positive for opioids doubled to 14 percent. The epidemic was also removed from the roads which are exactly the kind of people who make them more safe – older, risk-affected drivers who are not in road rage or high speed.

The effect of “epidemic driving” seemed worse in some places than in others. A government analysis this month found that male drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the rural roads were 16 to 24 years old in deaths during the epidemic of the first few months, and not even those wearing seatbelt. a Reported by Inrix It was found that large US metros saw 25 percent fewer collisions from October to October, but drops were less pronounced in places like Chicago, Miami, Seattle and St. Louis.

Wisconsin is one of those terrible outliers. an analysis The Wisconsin Policy Forum found that total accidents were 26 percent less than in the first year compared to July of this year; Injury injuries were down 23 percent. But fatal accidents increased by 17 percent, and accident victims rose by 20 percent, replacing national and even regional trends – even though fewer people were driving. Parts of Milwaukee had jumped into road accidents even before the epidemic, and the state has had a high proportion of long-term alcohol deaths, although the numbers were running down.