Driving Was Down In 2020, But Traffic Fatality Rates Surged : NPR

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A person crosses an almost empty avenue in San Francisco, on March 17, 2020. Despite a discount in driving final 12 months, highway fatalities elevated, in line with the National Safety Council.

Jeff Chiu/AP


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Jeff Chiu/AP

A person crosses an almost empty avenue in San Francisco, on March 17, 2020. Despite a discount in driving final 12 months, highway fatalities elevated, in line with the National Safety Council.

Jeff Chiu/AP

Driving was markedly down in 2020, but a brand new report discovered a shocking and alarming statistic: Traffic deaths truly rose final 12 months.

The National Safety Council (NSC) says deaths from motor autos rose 8% final 12 months, with as many as 42,060 folks dying in car crashes.

When evaluating visitors deaths to the variety of miles pushed, the speed of fatalities rose 24% — the best spike in practically a century, NSC says.

“It is tragic that in the U.S., we took cars off the roads and didn’t reap any safety benefits,” Lorraine Martin, NSC’s president and CEO, stated in an announcement.

The non-profit group estimates fatalities from motor autos yearly, tallying deaths on public roads in addition to parking tons and driveways.

The group advocates for decrease velocity limits, stricter seat belt legal guidelines and expanded use of driver-assistance options like computerized emergency braking, amongst different modifications.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a authorities company, has not but launched its evaluation of deaths in 2020, however its preliminary results for the primary 9 months of the 12 months present comparable tendencies, with complete deaths and dying charges each up noticeably.

NHTSA stated it was “too soon to speculate on the contributing factors” of the uptick.

Martin, the president of NSC, says her group has not completed its evaluation of the causes both.

But she instructed NPR that it is clear that with fewer automobiles on the highway, dangerous driving behaviors went up.

“And we know what those risky driving behaviors are, even though we haven’t done all the analysis of these specific crashes,” she says. “We know it’s speeding. We know it’s driving without a seatbelt. And we know it’s driving impaired … and distracted.”

Alarm bells about that dangerous conduct began sounding early within the pandemic. For occasion, a number of information sources indicated a noticeable enhance in dashing as emptier roads tempted drivers to stomp on the accelerator.

Arity, a mobility information analytics firm that spun off from insurance coverage large Allstate, studies that dashing has caught round as driving resumes.

“We are still seeing increased speeds on the road even as miles driven returns to normal, particularly during morning and afternoon rush hours,” the group wrote in February.

And folks aren’t simply dashing somewhat — they’re dashing loads. Drivers hitting speeds of higher than 80 miles per hour elevated by most of 2020, Arity discovered.

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