Traffic Deaths

Pandemic Increased Risky Behaviors

U.S traffic deaths have increased in the past year. The “estimated crash deaths jumped at least 50 percent.” The cause is unclear but the pandemic seems to play a role in setting records and raising alarms for the safety of drivers around the country. “Risky behavior and traffic fatalities” are linked to the pandemic and these behaviors spiked in March of 2020, and have remained high since then.

Duncan states that “NHTSA reported 7,893 traffic deaths in the first three months of 2020, a period mostly before the onset of the pandemic. In 2021, the figure jumped to 8,935 deaths, then rose to 9.560 this year.”

Additional safety measures can prevent these horrific crashes. Campaign advertisements and technology may be the answer. NHTSA believes infrastructure investment will increase safe roads, bridges, and tunnels. Showing incentives for safe driving is helpful.

Poor Minorities At Risk

Vehicle incidents shows evidence and statistics that lower-income drivers and minorities are at higher risk of an injury or death. Fatalities worsened during the pandemic. Mental health issues and substance abuse increased during the pandemic, which has ensued “impulsive behavior, like running red lights and failing to wear seatbelts.”

These behaviors have been exacerbated during and after the pandemic including among minorities and lower-income individuals are a growing concern.

“The pandemic probably exacerbated the gaps because many professionals have begun working from home, while many blue-collar Americans kept driving, biking or walking to work. Some lower-income workers also drive as part of their jobs.”

These trends are important to note. Traffic fatalities rose dramatically. The increase is the sharpest since the 1940s.