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Traffic deaths and reckless driving increased sharply last year

If you or someone you know was seriously injured in an auto accident in 2020, it may have been part of a larger and scary trend. Between lockdowns and the shift to working at home, Americans drove significantly less than average over the past year. Statistically, traffic accident rates should have fallen accordingly. Instead, however, they went up.

Data show an alarming rise in fatal and injurious accidents on U.S. roads in 2020, and police reports confirm that there was also a significant increase in citations and arrests for severe speeding (in excess of 100 mph) and other reckless driving behaviors.

According to the National Safety Council, there were 42,060 traffic deaths last year, which is an 8 percent increase over the previous year. An estimated 4.8 million additional people were injured in traffic accidents during the same period. This is in spite of the fact that overall road miles traveled last year decreased by 13 percent.

What accounts for this trend? Many believe that Americans began driving more recklessly in response to stress about the pandemic. Others were merely taking advantage of the fact that highways were much emptier than normal. In both cases, these are merely excuses and not valid justifications. There is simply no good reason for individuals to endanger themselves and others in this manner – particularly when so many of us are already in danger from Covid.

If you were seriously injured in a car accident or you lost a loved one in the same manner, reckless driving may have been the cause or a contributing factor. Whether it was excessive speed, distracted driving, drunk driving or something else, drivers who behave this way behind the wheel deserve to face consequences in court (often both criminal and civil court). To learn more about your options after a devastating car accident, please discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.