COVID-19 cases have dropped in Connecticut within the last two months. While life is slowly transitioning back to somewhat normal, there are many people who still remain cautious.
One of the methods that has helped bring Connecticut's COVID-19 cases down is social distancing. This includes working from home, shopping online, cancelling events and moving to remote learning.
Connecticut has seen the devastating consequences of less traffic congestion on our roads, however. According to the Nationals Safety Council's (NSC) preliminary crash data, Connecticut saw a 45 percent increase in traffic fatalities during the first quarter of 2020 (January - April) in comparison to the same period in 2019.
Uptick in traffic fatality rates
This increase isn't just a problem in Connecticut. This year, the U.S. has so far had a 36.6 percent increase in the traffic fatality rate on a year-over-year basis. This is despite the social distancing measures people have taken since the beginning of the pandemic.
Here is the mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven for March and April:
- April 2020: 1.47 fatalities, up from 1.08 in April 2019. This is despite an 18 percent drop in the number of deaths from the same period in 2019.
- March 2020: 1.22 fatalities, up from 1.07 in March 2019. This is despite an 8 percent drop in the number of deaths from the same period in 2019.
Why has the traffic fatality rate gone up?
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, there have been fewer cars on the road since the beginning of the pandemic. This has created an opportunity for some drivers to travel at dangerous speeds, sometimes over 100 mph.
In addition to speeding and reckless driving, crashes could increase due to:
- Bars and restaurants reopening: This could lead to an increase in drunk driving, which resulted in 10,511 traffic fatalities across the U.S. and 115 in Connecticut during 2018.
- Fewer people using public transit: As things transition back to normal, there are many people who will avoid using public transit, taxis or rideshare services to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This could result in an increase in traffic congestion, especially in urban areas.
- Increase in trucks on roadways: With more people ordering from online retailers rather than visiting shopping malls, we could see an increase in delivery trucks and large commercial trucks on our roads. In 2018, seven traffic fatalities involved light trucks or vans and nine involved large commercial trucks.
Why hire an attorney if you were hurt in a car accident?
If you were hurt in a crash caused by someone else's negligent or reckless behavior, you have the right to be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Getting compensated isn't easy. Insurance companies are often pushy. They may place the blame on you or try to sucker you into taking a low-ball settlement. Without a strong legal advocate on your side, you could find yourself paying for your damages out-of-pocket.