On June 3, 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released preliminary data relating to 2020 traffic fatalities. While the streets were much emptier than usual during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of traffic fatalities increased by 7.2 percent from 2019—reaching the highest number of deaths in thirteen years. Here’s what Southern California drivers should know about this recently released information.
Risky Driving Behaviors Rose Substantially in 2020
According to the NHTSA data, the total number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) declined by 13.2 percent between 2019 and 2020. However, the fatality rate rose from 1.11 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2019 to 1.37 per 100 million VMT in 2020. In addition, unsafe driving practices, such as speeding, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and failing to wear a seatbelt, became more common, even though fewer drivers were out on the road. Overall, traffic accidents in 2020 involved more serious (and, in many cases, fatal) injuries than those in previous years.
Breaking Down Key Crash Data Trends
In their report, the NHTSA highlighted many shifts in the types of crashes that occurred in 2020 compared to those in 2019. For example, traffic fatalities involving pedestrians did not change between 2019 and 2020, but fatal crashes involving passenger vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, and bicycle riders all increased by five percent or more. What’s more, the number of accidents involving occupant rejection grew by 20 percent, and speeding-related crashes increased by 11 percent during 2020. Overall, the NHTSA found that riskier behind-the-wheel behaviors contributed to the uptick in fatal auto accidents during the pandemic.
Helping Riverside County Drivers Enjoy a Safe Future
Not all of the NHTSA data is cause for concern. There are a few metrics that bring hope—the number of fatal accidents involving large trucks (both commercial and non-commercial) fell between 2019 and 2020, and fatalities among those 65 and older declined by 9 percent. As we reflect on these findings, we should focus on practicing safe driving behaviors and seek medical attention right away when an accident occurs. As you explore your options for pursuing the compensation you need to get your life back on track following an accident in Temecula or Murrieta, enlist the guidance of a trusted auto accident attorney who can answer your questions and represent your best interests.
If you need help collecting compensation after a Temecula car accident, call the experienced and dedicated auto accident lawyers at Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation today at (951) 489-3320.