Despite the fact that many people pivoted to working from home last year, fatal car accidents rose an astonishing 24% in 2020 over 2019.
While you can’t do anything about the numbers (or bad drivers), understanding dangerous trends can help you mitigate your risk of a serious wreck.
What the data says about drivers and accidents in 2020
Preliminary reports from the National Safety Council (NSC) indicate that more than 42,000 people lost their lives in fatal wrecks last year. That’s only 8.4% higher than the approximate 38,800 deaths in 2019 on the surface — but the true fatality uptick can only be calculated once the 13% drop in the number of miles driven during the year is also factored into the equation.
Preliminary reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) paint a similarly grim picture. The NHTSA estimates there was a 32% spike in traffic fatalities in the second quarter of 2020 when compared to the same time period in 2019.
In total, the drop in actual cars on the road combined with the rise in fatal accidents indicates that crash rates were the highest since 1924 — back in the days when four-wheel brakes were optional on vehicles.
What’s behind the spike in fatalities? Experts only have guesses right now, but part of the problem seems to be speeders who took advantage of low traffic volumes. Other problems include the rise in at-home delivery for everything from food to household goods, which is putting a lot of delivery trucks in unfamiliar neighborhoods.
What you can do if you’re involved in a serious wreck
No matter what the cause, a serious motor vehicle accident can leave you struggling to recover for months or years. Protecting your interests against the insurance companies involved isn’t easy, especially when you’re injured. Working with an experienced legal advocate to pursue your claim is often wise.