When the coronavirus pandemic forced many states to lockdown in spring of 2020, traffic levels decreased significantly. Far fewer motorists were on the road with many people working at home and children learning online. However, that didn’t mean the roads became safer. In fact, traffic fatalities surged in 2020.
According to the National Safety Council, more than 42,000 people died in U.S. car accidents in 2020, an 8% increase. When evaluating the number of people who died in vehicle crashes to the number of miles driven, that rate rose 24%, the highest spike in nearly a century.
Why traffic fatalities rose in 2020
Safety experts still are evaluating all the reasons traffic fatalities increased last year. They know that with fewer drivers on the road, driving recklessly became more common. The California Highway Patrol reported it issued more than 15,000 speeding tickets to drivers going more than 100 miles per hour from March to August 19, 2020. That was an 100% increase.
With drivers traveling at higher speeds, that increased the risks of a deadly crash. When drivers travel at high speeds, they:
- Can lose control of their vehicle
- Need a longer stopping distance to avoid a crash
- Make injuries suffered in a crash more severe because of the higher force involved
- Reduce the effectiveness of the safety equipment in their vehicle
Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident
For those who lost loved ones in a fatal car accident in 2020, they may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. With a wrongful death lawsuit, family members can recover damages for losing a loved one because of someone else’s negligence.
In California, families can recover the following in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Expenses related to their loved one’s medical bills
- Expenses to cover their loved one’s funeral and burial
- Expenses to cover the loss of income and financial support from their loved one
- Damages to cover the loss of their loved one’s companionship and affection
Unfortunately, 2020 brought many tragedies to families across the United States. Sadly, some of those had nothing to do with the ongoing health crisis, but came as the result of drivers driving recklessly on emptier roads.