We have seen a significant decline in overall traffic fatalities over the last few years. Some safety advocates attribute this to the safety features found in new cars, as well as new distracted driving laws in many states.
According to the National Safety Council, there were more than 40,000 traffic fatalities across the U.S. in 2017. That dropped below 40,000 in 2018 and an estimated 38,000 in 2019. That's according to the most recent statistics from the National Safety Council.
Have our roads become safer in 2020?
According to a recent report discussed on StreetsBlog, the overall number of crashes and traffic fatalities have dropped in 22 states during the first half of 2020. South Carolina was one of the states that saw a reduction. There were 478 statewide traffic fatalities during the first half of 2019, and 447 during the first half of 2020.
Richard Retting from the traffic engineering firm Sam Schwartz compiled crash data from January to June of 2020 and compared it to the same period in 2019. Retting found that the overall crash fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 1.02 during the first half of 2019, but increased 12.7 percent to 1.15 during the same period in 2020.
What is the cause of the increase in the traffic fatality rate?
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, several states have taken measures to prevent the spread of the virus by enacting social distancing rules. Several businesses closed their doors in March, forcing workers to collect unemployment or work remotely. In addition, schools and colleges were closed and events were canceled. Fewer people traveled as a result.
It may seem like fewer cars on the road would make for safer driving conditions. That has not been the case. Speeders and reckless drivers have taken the opportunity to travel at dangerous speeds. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, police all over the U.S. have caught drivers traveling at speeds 20-40 mph over the posted speed limit. Some have even been clocked at speeds greater than 100 mph.
It should be no surprise that speed would be a leading factor in the increased traffic fatality rate. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding resulted in 9,378 traffic fatalities across the U.S. and 447 in South Carolina during 2018.
What should I do if I was injured in a crash with a speeder?
Some drivers speed when they are in a hurry. Others do it for the thrill or out of habit. Speeders often don't recognize the risks they take until it's too late. Those who exceed the speed limit often have less time and distance to avoid an impending crash. They're more likely to lose control of their cars. When a crash occurs, someone's life can be turned upside down.
That's why the Lexington, SC attorneys at Johnson + Johnson Attorneys at Law are dedicated to holding speeders accountable when their actions cause someone's injury or death. Our legal team will leave no stone unturned. We'll investigate your crash and fight to recover every dollar in compensation you're entitled to.