If there is a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, it is that car accidents have plummeted across the U.S. With people staying inside and not driving for errands, to school, or even to work, cities have reported drastic decreases in the number of crashes on the roadways.
However, Missouri police are claiming they have actually seen an increase in the number of fatal crashes. They insist that this is due to excessive speed and distracted driving. However, it is actually a misleading flaw in their data.
Car Accidents Fall Sharply During Coronavirus Shutdown
For the past few weeks, stores, schools, and jobs have been shutdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By practicing social distancing, Americans have been staying home and not driving anywhere.
The effect on the roadways has been predictable: They are empty.
People are driving so little that major car insurance companies are paying back a portion of their customers' premiums for April and May.
The drastic reduction in vehicle miles traveled has also meant that car accidents have fallen, as well. In Washington state, crashes fell 67% compared to the same time last year, and there has not been a single fatality. In Los Angeles, traffic and road fatalities have been cut in half.
Missouri Reporting Slight Increase in Fatal Accidents, Though
Road traffic has also fallen in St. Joseph and the rest of Missouri thanks to the coronavirus shutdown. Both the state police and the Department of Transportation estimate that passenger vehicle traffic is half of what it was at this point, last year.
However, state police have actually reported a 3% increase in the number of fatal crashes.
The Flaw in Missouri’s Fatal Crash Claims
It seems strange that half as many people are driving on the roads, yet slightly more are dying in car accidents in Missouri. That would mean that, comparatively speaking, twice as many car crashes are killing people.
The answer is actually very simple: The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s claim that fatal crashes are up 3% comes from the state’s yearly numbers. The decrease in traffic, on the other hand, only looks at the last few weeks.
To not be misleading, the police should only be looking at the number of fatal accidents that have happened since the coronavirus shutdown began. Those numbers would paint an entirely different picture.
For example, during the month of April – the entirety of which has been spent in lockdown, so far – the number of road fatalities has fallen from 10, last year, to 3 this year. That is a 70% drop, not a 3% increase. This puts the fatality rate back in line with the reduced traffic in the state.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a car accident in St. Joseph or the Kansas City area, the personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373.