According to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S saw more than a 7 percent increase in motor vehicle fatalities, despite the fact that fewer people were on the road due to coronavirus restrictions. Early estimates suggest that 38,680 people died in motor vehicle crashes for that year, which is a 7.2 percent increase from the year before. It’s also the most fatalities from car crashes since 2007.
This is a worrying statistic, as traffic was reduced throughout the country. The Federal Highway Administration reported that the number of miles people traveled by vehicle last year decreased by around 430 billion miles, which was a 13.2 percent decline. However, according to the NHTSA’s projections, there was a significant increase in deaths during the third and fourth quarters of 2020. This coincides with when many of the travel restrictions were beginning to be lifted.
The NHTSA did not have any explanation for the increase in fatalities despite decreased traffic. They noted that the main behaviors that drove the increase in deaths included impaired driving, speeding, and not wearing a seatbelt. In addition, it wasn’t all bad news, as there was a projected 2 percent decline in accidents involving large commercial or non-commercial trucks and a projected 9 percent decline for accidents involving people age 65 and older.
What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident
If you’re in a car accident, you may need some help in the aftermath. One service you may need to retain is that of a lawyer. According to The Barnes firm New York, a good car accident lawyer can help you build a strong case for you and your family by gathering evidence such as driving records, eye-witness statements, media reports, photos or video, and a complete analysis of the road conditions. Through all of this, you can make your case as to why the accident wasn’t your fault, submit your car accident claim and get the monetary compensation you deserve.
Another person you may need to work with is a medical professional. If you were unfortunate enough to receive injuries from your car accident, it’s important that you get them looked at right away, no matter how minor. An injury can always be worse than it appears and a doctor can ensure you don’t have anything more serious going on. They can also prescribe you medications to help you deal with any pain and develop a treatment plan to help you recover from the injury. Finally, if necessary, they can refer you to a physical therapist who will assist you with your recovery if the injuries were serious.
The last service you may need to work with is an auto repair shop. It’s likely that your accident resulted in some damage to your vehicle. If you’re lucky, this damage wasn’t enough to prevent the vehicle from operating. But if this wasn’t the case, you’ll need a reliable mechanic to inspect your vehicle and determine how to best get it running again. In many cases, your insurance will cover the costs of these repairs, but it’s still important to work with a reliable mechanic to ensure the work gets done properly and in a timely fashion. If you don’t already have a mechanic you trust, look for one in your local area with strong online reviews.
Preventing Car Accidents Going Forward
As the NHTSA noted, some of the most frequent causes of car accident deaths include impaired driving, speeding, and not wearing a seatbelt. Therefore, there are some simple things you can do to keep yourself safer while driving. For starters, never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as this impairs your driving ability. In addition, be sure you are fully awake when driving, as a lack of sleep can also impair your abilities.
When driving, be sure you are always obeying the speed limit. While you can’t control what other drivers are doing, you can control your own speed. It’s much better to get somewhere a few minutes later than it is to not get there at all. Finally, make sure you and everyone in your vehicle wear a seatbelt whenever you drive, no matter how far you’re going.
The number of car accident deaths rising during a year when there was less traffic is a concerning statistic. The NHTSA says it is taking steps to review the data and try to determine the cause of this increase so that it can implement new safety measures. Until that happens, the best thing you can do is take care of your own vehicle and monitor your own driving habits.