As states across the country have eased Covid lockdowns and people are returning to the “new normal” of living during a pandemic, the roadways have surprisingly become more dangerous. According to recent data on motor vehicle traffic fatalities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 20,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes during the first half of 2021.
Notably, this represents an 18.4 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2020. It also is the highest half-year percentage increase in the history of data recorded by the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
Certain regions of the country have seen greater increases than others. For example, the region of states containing Illinois saw a 19% increase in motor vehicle fatalities, whereas other regions varied from 8% to 26% increases. Interestingly, all regions saw increases in motor vehicle deaths compared to the same timeframe the previous year.
Covid Pandemic and Motor Vehicle Crashes
In 2020, during the heart of the the Covid pandemic, there was a spike in motor vehicle crash fatalities compared to previous years. The recent data show this trend continuing into the first half of 2021.
At some level, this seems counterintuitive. With people more reluctant to leave their homes and less people commuting to work, shouldn’t that result in less drivers on the roadways and therefore less traffic-related deaths? The first part is true: in 2020, roadway traffic was down by more than 13% compared to 2019. But surprisingly, the second part was the exact opposite: motor vehicle deaths went up by 23% compared to 2019.
The data show an increasing number of deadly motor vehicle crashes involve risky and dangerous behavior like speeding, driving while intoxicated (alcohol or drugs), and failure to wear a seat belt. Experts have posited that the psychological toll of the Covid pandemic has led to more people engaging in this type of risky — and sometimes reckless — behavior, which may lead to a motor vehicle crash.
Top-Rated Illinois Car Crash Lawyers
Passen & Powell has substantial experience and record success in cases involving serious motor vehicle crashes, including those resulting in wrongful death. To discuss a potential matter — or for a free consultation — call us at 312-527-4500.