Throughout much of 2020, the roads were free of their usual congestion as many people pivoted to remote work and avoided unnecessary travel.
With all the reduced traffic, you’d think traffic accidents and roadway deaths would go down — but they’ve actually risen. It’s expected that this year’s traffic deaths will be the highest in at least five years.
Why have traffic accidents and deaths skyrocketed?
While there’s no hard evidence behind this idea (yet), the prevailing theory is that the empty roads are causing some drivers to turn “lead-footed” behind the wheel.
Some are, without any doubt, just relishing the fact that the streets are fairly empty. They take the opportunity to fly toward their destination — never thinking about the fact that they are reducing their abilities to respond to other vehicles or pedestrians in time to prevent a wreck.
Others may just be so used to going with the flow of traffic that they forget to lower their speed when the traffic isn’t there.
“Day-drinking,” too, has become a problem — and there may be more drunk drivers on the road right now.
The problem is so serious that NYC officials have actually asked the state to permit 24-hour traffic speed cameras in school zones, since those are the only areas that have seen a reduction in fatal accidents — and only when the cameras are on.
What does this mean for the average driver?
Even if you obey the traffic laws and watch your speed, you can get in a wreck. You have to be on the defensive at all times when you’re behind the wheel.
If you do end up in a wreck with a speeding or negligent driver, protect your right to compensation. An attorney can help you understand what it takes to obtain a fair shake from the insurance companies.