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Lockdowns Decrease Traffic Accidents, But New Dangers Exist

Communities around the world are experiencing dramatic changes to daily life due to widespread stay-at-home orders. While some changes have been positive, such as massive decreases in air pollution and a resurgence of wildlife, not all impacts have been for the best. While cities across the world are seeing sharp decreases in roadway congestion and the number of traffic accidents, this does not mean accidents have stopped or that the severity of accidents has diminished. In fact, data shows the decongestion of roads and highways has actually come with an increase of reckless driving.

Room for Reckless Behavior

A major decrease in traffic has shelter-in-place orders to thank for the additional room available on the road. While some drivers view the decongestion on roads and highways as a sign that people are abiding by safety guidelines, other drivers view wide open spaces as an opportunity to relax and have fun behind the wheel. While the frequency of collisions may have decreased across the country, accounts of speeding and other reckless behavior are on the rise. Unfortunately, many drivers believe that less traffic on the road correlates to decreased risks associated with driving. But, regardless of the volume of traffic on the road, operating a vehicle is a serious matter.

Police officers across the country are citing drivers for excessive speeding, some of which is due the to mistaken belief that less cars on the road means accidents are less likely. Across the country, police departments are reporting an uptick in citations for serious speeding, such as a driver going 133 mph in a 55-mph zone. The myth that less cars on the road means driving is safer can be quickly disproven. According to the National Safety Council, speeding was a cause in 26% of fatal accidents and killed 9,378 people in 2018. Speeding increases the likelihood of a driver losing control of their vehicle, thus increasing the chances of an accident as well as the severity of injuries sustained due to the increased force of impact caused by traveling at accelerated speeds. Speeding affects more than just those inside a car, and is a top threat to cyclists and pedestrians.

Pedestrian Safety

With the vast majority of Americans restricted from normal activity, communities across the country have witnessed an increase in pedestrian and cycling activity. More and more people are taking to the roads for jogs, walks, and bike rides in an attempt to get fresh air and out of their houses. While this can bring positive mental health effects for those under shelter-at-home orders, it raises concerns regarding pedestrian safety. In many Texas communities, pedestrian safety was already a serious issue before the pandemic, now with more people outside, concerns have only grown. Pedestrians and cyclists are some of the most vulnerable people on the road due to their lack of physical protection and unequal size match against a vehicle of any kind, especially when those vehicles speeding or driving recklessly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speeding drivers are responsible for striking and killing a pedestrian every 88 minutes on average across the country. Additionally, pedestrians involved in auto accidents are 1.5 times more likely to die than vehicle occupants. Drivers who engage in reckless behavior are less likely to notice a pedestrian or cyclist who shares the road with them. Even a minor maneuver – such as changing lanes – can turn deadly for pedestrians and cyclists when a driver is speeding or unfocused, leaving inadequate reaction time.

Houston Car Accident Attorneys

Recent trends across the country show having fewer vehicles on the roads does not equate to less injuries and deaths associated with car accidents. While drivers may assume it is okay to partake in dangerous driving behaviors right now, dangers remains present regardless of the volume of traffic. If a reckless driver injured you or a loved one, you may be entitled to financial compensation. There is limited time to act following a car accident in Texas, so contact us today to get started.

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Dax F. Garza
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