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Has Reckless Driving Increased During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Published: Jul 28, 2020 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
texting while driving

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced unexpected casualties, including an increase in fatal accidents. At the start of the quarantine periods in March and April when many people were staying home, there were far fewer cars out on the roads. However, in many states, data and statistics from those months shows that the drivers who did go out exhibited reckless driving behaviors and caused more fatal car accidents than previous years.

More Pedestrians and Bicyclists on the Roads

Navigating the roads is now more difficult than ever as drivers must use extra caution to avoid a stray bicyclist or someone unexpectedly crossing a road. With everyone working from home during the pandemic, many more people have time to go walking and biking. The school year has ended, many summer camps and activities are canceled, so entire families are riding bikes during this time. When driving, it is important to always be alert.

Why Has Speeding Increased?

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the reduction in traffic during the coronavirus pandemic has caused an increase in speeding and reckless behaviors in the drivers who are out on the roads. In some states, car crashes rates are two times higher than previous years within the same time period.

The GHSA worries that the increase in motor vehicle crashes will be a burden on emergency rooms that are already at capacity because of the pandemic. The GHSA urges drivers to not ignore traffic safety laws just because of lighter traffic flows.

What Bad Driving Habits Have Increased?

Data company, Zendrive, has had a firsthand look at how COVID-19 affects drivers. The company’s software uses the sensors in smartphones to track aggressive driving, distracted driving, collisions, and more. Its customers can use the data collected to analyze driver behavior and improve safety, fuel consumption, and mitigate risk.

Zendrive found that in the five weeks after lockdown was announced in many states, the following bad driving behaviors increased:

  • Using a cellphone while driving: There is a 38 percent increase compared to pre-lockdown numbers in some states.
  • Exceeding posted speed limits: There is a 27 percent increase in some states.
  • Hard braking: There is a 25 percent increase in some states.
  • Collisions per million miles: There is a 20 percent increase in some states.

Are Drivers Trying to Stop Their Reckless Behaviors?

Even before COVID-19 hit the United States, the American Automobile Association (AAA) was concerned about the number of drivers who engage in risky driving behaviors. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducts an annual survey of drivers’ attitudes and behavior, known as the Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI).

The latest survey, which was administered between September 6 and October 8, 2019, showed a disturbing gap between what drivers perceived as dangerous driving and their own behavior. While those surveyed for the TSCI identified distracted, aggressive, and impaired driving as dangerous, many also admitted to engaging in at least one of these behaviors in the 30 days prior to the survey. Additionally, the AAA’s research found that drivers who were involved in at least one crash in the past two years were much more likely to engage in bad driving behaviors.

Amongst the drivers surveyed for the 2019 TSCI, 43.2 percent had used hand-held cellphones in the 30 days previous to the survey, and 48.2 percent reported driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit on freeways. Additionally, 24 percent admitted to having trouble keeping their eyes open while driving because they were so fatigued, and 10 percent said they had driven after drinking alcohol.

How Can a Car Crash be Prevented?

Almost all motor vehicle accidents are related to driver error and are preventable. During this unprecedented world pandemic, it is more important than ever to review and practice safe driving habits. Many people are driving less and some assume that fewer drivers means it is acceptable to drive faster. More people are choosing to walk or ride bikes, making it more important than ever before for drivers to check their blind spots and drive cautiously.

Some good driving tips to remember:

  • Always wear a seat belt, whether driving or riding as a passenger.
  • Leave adequate space between vehicles.
  • Drive sober, never drive after drinking or using drugs. Check prescription drugs for side effects, such as drowsiness.
  • Stay within the speed limit. Speeding increases the time it takes to stop and decreases the time one has to make an emergency maneuver. Leave plenty of time to travel.
  • Perform regular maintenance, even when driving less to ensure one’s vehicle is in top shape.
  • Prevent distracted driving by stowing away cellphones. It is also helpful to turn off notifications. Program navigation directions before leaving.

Everyone must do their part in keeping the roads safe during the COVID-19 pandemic so that the virus does not claim even more deaths.

Should I Speak to a Lawyer After an Accident?

After seeking medical attention, it is important that a car accident victim seeks legal counsel, even during this unprecedented time. A lawyer will address the concerns of the victim and ensure that the victim’s rights are protected. A lawyer will determine if the victim is able to obtain compensation.

Edwardsville Car Crash Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Help Car Accident Victims Get Compensation for Injuries

If you were injured in a car crash that was caused by the negligence of another party, you may be eligible for compensation. Our experienced Edwardsville car crash lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC will fight for your rights to obtain compensation for past and future medical expenses and financial losses. Let us handle your legal needs so that you can concentrate on your recovery. For a free consultation, call us at 618-277-3644 or complete our online form. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve injured car crash victims throughout Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.