Over the last few years, there’s been a decline in traffic levels in the United States. This was most pronounced in 2019 and 2020, but it is still true today. Recent reports have shown that the current traffic levels are about 4% lower than they were back in 2019.
However, when you look at how many annual fatalities there are since 2020, the total number of deaths is up about 22%. This means that the fatality rate is up even more than that. The best way to measure fatalities is by looking at how many of them occur per mile driven. When traffic levels are lower, especially if overall deadly accident totals are higher, that rate is going to skyrocket.
Why is this happening?
When traffic levels began to fall, researchers were optimistic that we would at least see a decline in traffic deaths. So why have we seen the opposite?
One reason is that people have been engaging in more risky behaviors. There has been more drunk driving, more distracted driving and lower levels of seatbelt usage.
But one of the biggest reasons for the increased death toll is simply an increase in speed. This may be related directly to those lower traffic levels. Perhaps traffic congestion was keeping speeds artificially low, meaning that accidents weren’t as likely to be fatal. But a reduction in traffic levels meant that people could speed back up, and more crashes have fatal ramifications as a result.
What can you do?
It is important to drive safely and always pay attention to the traffic around you so that you can anticipate the mistakes other drivers are going to make. But you could still be injured or even lose a loved one in a crash that they caused, so be sure you know how to seek financial compensation.