Since March, there’s been far fewer people on roads and highways because most states have issued stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Arkansas has not received state-wide stay-at-home orders because of its low population density, the state’s schools have been closed and citizens are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing, so traffic has been reduced here as well.
Unfortunately, though, police officers from around the country are saying they are witnessing half the traffic but double the fatalities because drivers are being reckless on the open roadways. For example, in Minnesota, the director of the Office of Traffic Safety reported that they had 42 people die in traffic collisions within the first 45 days of the stay-at-home order. Last year in that same time, only 29 people died in traffic collisions.
If you’ve been in a collision caused by reckless or negligent driving during this pandemic, you still deserve justice for your injuries and damages. We at McMath Woods P.A. know how to best support you through your case.
Recent Rises in Reckless Driving
With up to 68% fewer cars on the road in some cities in the country, the people who are still driving all over the states have been more prone to speeding. Not only have drivers been speeding, but they’ve also been partaking in other reckless driving activities on the clearer roads, like drag racing. Unfortunately, drivers are using speeding as a way to cope with boredom and other negative feelings caused by the shutdown, and because they think they can get away with it.
For example, a crew of three drivers broke the record for how quickly they drove from New York to Los Angeles. They took only 26 hours and 38 minutes, compared to the usual estimated 42 hours. Sources say that the men must have been driving over 100 mph to achieve their time, which is reckless endangerment.
While driving volume has dropped drastically, traffic incidents have not dropped in the same way. Those have only dropped 21%, and average speeds have increased by 250%. Police all over the country report that they’re writing more speeding tickets now than before the quarantine, and many of those drivers are driving over 100 mph. Some have even been clocked going over 130 mph. In places where traffic used to crawl during rush hour, drivers can now speed because there are barely any other cars on the road.
Distracted Driving Increases
Speeding isn’t the worst of what drivers are doing. According to the Washington Post, phone usage behind the wheel went up by 38% in mid-April and is steadily increasing. Distracted driving mixed with dangerous speeds is a deadly combination, but unfortunately, that’s what police around the nation are seeing.
Whether drivers are on the road because they are essential workers or because they are on a ride just to get out of the house, they are partaking in these negligent and reckless activities behind the wheel because they think the risk is less since there are fewer cars on the road. That isn’t the case. Although the volume of traffic is down, these actions are still dangerous and deadly because they’re putting you and any other drivers at risk, not to mention they’re illegal.
Police and traffic safety officials are concerned about what will happen when states open back up. If people continue to drive the way that they are during the shutdown when traffic returns, there could be even more accidents. Officials urge drivers to slow down and put down any distractions in their cars. It could save lives.
McMath Woods P.A. Is Here To Help
We hope you and your loved ones are able to stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. But sometimes you still need to leave the house, and since drivers are being more reckless, you could be involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
If you’ve been in a crash during the shutdown, you’re probably worrying about the complexities of your hospital visit, finding a body shop that’s open, and returning to work—that is, if your workplace is still open. We know this time is especially confusing for accident victims. Our team at McMath Woods P.A. will help you through this difficult time and ensure you get justice for your injuries. Contact us virtually so we can discuss your case.