It would be an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc in all of our lives in one way or another whether physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, or educationally. What most of us didn’t foresee was that it would lead to the most dramatic increase in traffic deaths in nearly 80 years. After all, there was seemingly less traffic on the roads, especially during the early days of the pandemic when much of the country was in lockdown, not commuting to and from work, and more or less confined to their homes. Yet traffic deaths began surging in the summer of 2020 and have continued throughout the course of the pandemic.
Most experts believe that, as people grew more and more frustrated and isolated at home, once they did return to the roads, they did so with a vengeance, so to speak. Aggressive driving increased substantially, which may be the reason for this increase in car accidents. Additionally, an increase in drug abuse during the pandemic has made a serious impact. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that “the proportion of drivers testing positive for opioids nearly doubled after mid-March 2020, compared to the previous six months, while marijuana prevalence increased by about 50%.”
What’s especially unfortunate about these developments is that traffic deaths had been steadily declining since the late 1960s, a trend attributable to safer vehicles, less drunk driving, and lower speed limits. In fact, the 2019 traffic death rate was at nearly its lowest point since the 1920s. Until COVID-19 came along. Between the summer of 2019 and the summer of 2021, per capita vehicle deaths spiked 17.5%, according to the New York Times, the biggest two-year increase since just after World War II. This disturbing trend appears to have hit lower-income areas and minorities even more severely. For example, as American traffic deaths rose 7.2% in 2020, that number among African Americans was an astounding 23%.
Traffic Deaths Include Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents As Well
The term “traffic death” can be a bit misleading, as most people only associate it with vehicle crashes. But a traffic death involves any type of fatality caused by a vehicle on the road–whether it’s a car striking a pedestrian or a bicycle or a motorcycle. These all fall under the umbrella of traffic deaths, and they’ve been steadily on the rise since the pandemic. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths rose by about 5% in 2020 from 2019. That group also projected that, based on vehicle miles traveled, the pedestrian fatality rate increased by nearly 21% in 2020 despite less overall driving that year.
How to Handle a Traffic Death
We truly hope you’re never put in the position of having to grieve a loved one who was the victim of a traffic accident. If you ever are, however, it’s important to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling traffic death and accident claims, like the professionals at The Lapidus Law Firm. While nothing can replace a life lost, we may be able to help you secure a fair and reasonable settlement to help pay for mounting medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses you find yourself responsible for covering if someone else was at fault for the accident.
Traffic Deaths Are Surging During the Pandemic
If you ever find yourself in this type of tragic situation, call The Lapidus Law Firm at (202) 785-5111 or (301) 852-7500 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our professionals will listen compassionately and let you know if you have a case that could help ease the financial burden resulting from the death of a loved one. If we believe that you do, you can trust that our attorneys will work their hardest to provide you with a measure of justice for your grief and loss.
We are committed to making justice work for you.