California’s roads are more dangerous than ever to both drivers and occupants in motor vehicles and pedestrians making their way from place to place by foot. Officials say that the ongoing spike in deaths on California’s highways and byways is due, at least in part, to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, people are driving more recklessly than usual, and the number of victims is starting to really add up.
The logic of more roadway deaths as a result of COVID-19’s required lockdown, quarantines, and isolation fly in the face of initial predictions that deaths would be down during the past two years. And although travel fell by 25 percent overall and fewer fatalities occurred when crunching the numbers, the death rate rose among those who were out on the roads. This spike began started in early 2020 and is ongoing, experts say.
Soaring Death Rate
California is not the sole state to see a rise in the death rate among motorists and pedestrians, although the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported a 15 percent uptick in the rate of fatal auto accidents during the period beginning in October 2020 and running through October 2021. Elsewhere, the numbers were just as startling. Texas had a record-high number of pedestrians killed, as did New Jersey, a state that reported its highest pedestrian death rate in over 30 years. Washington State reported the most deaths in 15 years. When measured as deaths per mile traveled, the death rate increase in California is certainly troubling, with a 35 percent overall increase in 2020 when compared to the year before.
Pandemic Related Driving Behaviors
Officials say that the increase behind this spike in roadways deaths has multiple facets to consider. Anxiety levels due to the pandemic were and in some instances, still are, at record levels, which has led to what is referred to as “pandemic drinking” as people turn to alcohol and drugs to cope. Drivers who ordinarily do not drink or act responsibly by not driving when drinking are suddenly more prone to drink and drive. Social norms also shifted during the pandemic, with many people exhibiting behaviors that they did not exhibit prior to the stressors of the pandemic. This includes poor driving behaviors like speeding and reckless driving and the fatal outcomes that ensue.
Help for Injured People
Serious accidents can have lasting repercussions and leave behind disabilities that affect the victim for years to come if not life. If you have fallen victim to a negligent driver on the roadway, you have a right to hold that driver accountable for your injuries. You may recover a mix of compensation as a result of your injury, including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other benefits to which you may be entitled. At the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg, our Los Angeles auto accident attorneys want to help. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by calling 310-997-0904.