It's been months since the COVID-19 pandemic first began wreaking havoc in Oklahoma and across the United States. It currently doesn't look like the coronavirus is going anywhere, either. Oklahoma has recently been getting nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.
It will be a while before life in Oklahoma goes back to somewhat normal. The virus itself isn't the only thing that poses a danger to residents. Social distancing measures may be impacting safety on our roads.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the U.S. has seen a 36.6 percent year-over-year rise in traffic fatality rates in 2020. This is despite fewer people traveling. For example, in April 2020, there was a 40 percent drop in the number of miles driven from the previous year. Yet, our roadways have only become deadlier.
How much of an increase in the fatality rate have we seen?
While we have seen an 18 percent drop in overall traffic fatalities during April 2020 (from the same period the previous year), we have seen an uptick in fatalities paralleled with the number of miles driven. For example:
- In April 2020, the mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven was 1.47. In April 2019, it was only 1.08.
- In March 2020, the mileage death rate per 100 million vehicles miles driven was 1.22. In March 2019, it was only 1.07.
Lorraine Martin is the NSC president and CEO. In a comment on the staggering preliminary data, she said:
"Even without traffic, our roads were no safer. It is heartbreaking to see the carnage on our roadways continue. Especially when our medical professionals should be able to focus intently on treating a pandemic rather than preventable car crashes. These numbers underscore our urgent need to change the culture of safety on our roads.”
Some states saw a drop in traffic fatalities. Oklahoma saw a six percent increase during the first quarter of 2020 (January to April). An earlier report from the Governors Highway Safety Association found that drivers are more likely to travel at dangerous speeds (more than 100 mph) when there is less traffic congestion.
Oklahoma attorneys serving crash victims in OKC and Tulsa
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a reckless driver, you may not be fully aware of the legal rights and options available to you. That's why it's best to speak to an experienced Oklahoma car accident attorney who can help you pursue a legal claim and recover economic and non-economic damages.
With law offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the legal team at Lawter & Associates Attorneys at Law PLLC serves clients statewide. We offer free and confidential case evaluations. To get started, contact us online.