The coronavirus has changed how we travel, with lockdowns shuttering businesses, schools, and social destinations. Now that the lockdowns are being lifted, though, some people are hitting the roads, once again.
Car Accidents Plummeted During Lockdowns
While statistics vary widely between states, largely based on how stringent their lockdowns were, the general theme is the same: Coronavirus lockdowns led to a sharp decline in car crashes. California, for example, had one of the strictest lockdowns in the U.S. One study found that this led to a 50% decrease in traffic accidents.
Other states, like Missouri, had lockdowns that were not as strict, so the drop in car accidents was not as steep.
During Lockdown: Crashes More Likely to Be Fatal
During strict lockdowns, the decrease in traffic led to more speeding, which has led to more deadly accidents. During New York City’s strict lockdown in April, for example, the number of car accidents dropped 76%, from 16,808 last year to 4,103 this year. However, fatal accidents only dropped 35%, from 20 down to 13. The number of deadly crashes per 1,000 total accidents rose from 1.2 up to 3.2.
While the number of road fatalities dropped, fatal crashes were not dropping as much as they should have been.
After Lockdown: Car Crashes are Different
In parts of the world that have emerged from lockdown, the number of car accidents are returning to normal, but the types of accidents that are occurring are not.
In England, where the national coronavirus lockdown was eased on May 10, the number of car crashes increased by 72% from April to May. Those accidents, though, were very different from before.
Typically, less than one-third of car crashes involved hitting a parked car. That percentage eclipsed 40% for the first time ever as lockdown was lifted. Meanwhile, rear-end collisions went from the most common type of accident to one of the least, representing only 13% of crashes.
The decline in rear-end crashes is likely due to the persistent reduction in miles traveled. However, the increase in accidents with parked cars is less easy to explain.
St. Joseph Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
In St. Joseph, traffic patterns and car accidents are influenced by the lockdown regulations of both Missouri and neighboring Kansas. While neither state has instituted very strict lockdowns, compared to some areas of the U.S., emerging from them is likely to change how people get hurt in car crashes.