Despite the fact that streets and highways were mostly empty this past spring, traffic deaths went up in New York City. New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from the first half of 2020 show that traffic deaths went up across the country. Americans drove on average 16.6% less than in previous years. In New York, there was an even more dramatic drop. According to a report on transportation, New York City drivers traveled 93% less.
Less driving should mean the overall number of fatalities was lower. However, the rates skyrocketed. The rate increased from 1.06% in the first half of 2019 to 1.25% in the first half of 2020. The fatality rate hasn’t been that high in over a decade. From April to June alone, the rate was 1.42%.
How is This Possible?
There are a number of interesting factors that contribute to the increased fatality rate. First, the type of driver on the road may contribute. Those who are out and about when people are being encouraged to stay home may be more prone to taking risks. This can factor into their driving behavior. In addition, empty streets may make it tempting to cut corners and take risks. Drivers were more likely to engage in other risky behaviors as well. Data showed an increased level of drug and alcohol use by drivers and a decrease in seat-belt use for vehicle occupants.
The most likely contributing factor to the increased fatality rate is speeding. Empty roads tempt drivers to treat downtown avenues like an expressway. The number of speeding tickets issued doubled. Traffic speeds overall rose by 27%.
Changes to be Made
It is unlikely that things will change too much now that the streets have more traffic. People are still going to drive fast, and it’s going to take some time to adjust to traffic conditions. In the NYU report, there are recommendations on steps the city could take to make the roads safer going forward. The report recommends narrowing streets and widening sidewalks, giving pedestrians a wider berth. Making changes to give walkers and bikers more room to operate can save lives. As the types of commutes people make change, the city needs to adapt to those realities. More people are walking and biking. Fewer people are driving and taking public transportation.
Contact a New York City Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should have an experienced accident attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have been helping car accident victims for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.