If you've seen the latest yearly crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you might be led to believe that progress is being made on American roads. In 2019, traffic fatalities involving car occupants dropped by 2.8 percent from 2018. Additionally, there was a 0.5 percent reduction in motorcyclist deaths, a 2.7 percent reduction in pedestrian deaths, and a 2.9 percent reduction in bicyclist deaths.
Don't get your hopes up. The progress we have seen was only on a national scale. Some states, such as Delaware, saw an increase in traffic fatalities from 2018 to 2019. Moreover, 2020 has been a rough year.
In 2018, 111 people lost their lives on Delaware roads. That number increased to 132 in 2019 — that accounts for an 18.9 percent increase during that period. In addition:
- Drunk driving deaths increased by 10.7%
- Speed-related deaths increased by 12.1%
- Pedestrian deaths increased by 39.1%
- Bicyclist deaths increased by 16.6%
Significant increase in traffic fatalities during 2020
The official crash statistics for 2020 won't be available until the beginning of 2022. But the NHTSA recently released preliminary data that shows a 13.1 percent increase in U.S. traffic fatalities during the third quarter of 2020 from the same period in 2019. That's despite a 14.5 percent drop in vehicle miles traveled.
The U.S. saw a significant reduction in travel since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies closed their doors, furloughed workers and required some employees to work remotely. Many recreational activities were canceled, and those that proceeded were strictly remote. While the pandemic guidelines helped reduce the spread of the coronavirus, it created opportunities for reckless drivers.
Back in April of 2020, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) put out a news release warning the public about a staggering increase in speeding and reckless driving. All over the nation, more drivers traveled at dangerous speeds, sometimes over 100 mph. In May of 2020, the GHSA put out another news release warning of a potential increase in crashes as states began to loosen pandemic restrictions. The agency also warned of an increase in drunk driving as bars and restaurants began to open.
Contact our Delaware attorneys if you were injured or lost a loved one in a crash
We can't predict when we'll encounter a speeding driver, drunk driver or distracted driver. Within a split second, your life could be turned upside down because of someone else's reckless actions. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a crash, the car accident attorneys at the Law Office of Edward C. Gill, P.A. would be honored to sit down with you and discuss your legal options during a free consultation.
We'll get to the bottom of what happened and use the evidence we find to help you build a strong case. We'll also deal with the insurance companies for you and fight to maximize your compensation through a settlement or court verdict. If you lost a loved one, we could help you pursue a wrongful death claim. Be aware that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Delaware is two years. We urge you to file sooner before evidence disappears and the story changes. Our legal team has been fighting for the rights of injured motorists and their families since 1983. Contact our Georgetown law office to find out how we can help you.