Despite driving significantly fewer miles over the past year due to Covid-19, there were actually almost 3,000 more car accident deaths in 2020, as compared to 2019. According to a recent study by the National Safety Council, over 42,000 people lost their lives in car accidents over the past twelve months – an eight percent increase from the prior year. Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows too well of the carnage on our roadways over the past year, having helped many families who were victims of deadly crashes in Miami, Plantation and Boca Raton.
While safety advocates had hoped for a silver-lining during Covid, that a significant drop in vehicular traffic would result in an equally impactful drop in car accident deaths; the sad part is that those who choose to drive during the lockdowns actually demonstrated riskier driving behavior, including driving at high speeds. The dangerous driving was also documented by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which confirmed that more speeding meant deadlier crashes. Those findings seem out of place when looking back at Florida’s March and April, 2020, state of emergency and stay-at-home orders.
Most observers point to Covid-19 as significant contributing factor in the rise in deadly crashes – a statistic which is omitted from the Covid-19 reported death numbers. The safety council calculated that Americans drove nearly thirteen percent less over the past year; yet, the rate of driving deaths per 100 million vehicle miles driven increased by nearly twenty-five percent to 1.49, the greatest percentage increase in over 100 years.
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet reported their official full-year traffic accident statistics, initial evaluations found a similar dramatic rise in the rate of car accident deaths last year. To better understand the implications of the pandemic’s affect upon traffic deaths, the Insurance Institute, the Governors Highway Safety Association and the National Road Safety Foundation, are joining forces to commence statewide projects meant to reduce excessive speeding.
The findings in the United States are shocking especially when compared to other developed countries, which had by contrast a significant drop in car accidents car accident deaths over the past year. And of course, Florida’s reputation for dangerous drivers was verified as our state was one of the deadliest during the past year. Last year more than 3,300 drivers, pedestrians or passengers died in car accidents across the State. In fact, there were over 340,000 car accidents in Florida during 2020, with an additional 212,122 reported injuries. While the number of total car accidents dropped from 2019’s number of 401,893, the number of deaths rose by nearly ten percent, which confirms the severity of those crashes.
The National Safety Council is advocating for a number of safety measures to help combat reckless driving as the country begins to climb out of the pandemic, including breath-test ignition locks for convicted drunk drivers, reducing speed limits and greater enforcement of laws which ban texting and cellphone use while driving. Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky also reminds his fellow Floridians to always use your seat-belt and place children in properly installed car seats. He also urges all motorcycle riders to wear approved helmets, as they are nearly forty percent effective in preventing deadly injuries to motorcycle drivers and their passengers.