Surprisingly, figures show that the number of pedestrians killed by cars has increased during the pandemic. This follows a recent report that driving accidents and fatalities have also risen, despite there being travel restrictions in place and fewer cars on the road.
The results of both of these reports are unexpected to many, as it was predicted that vehicle-related deaths would have been lower in the last year.
Motorists traveled approximately 16.5% fewer miles during the pandemic, due to business closures and restrictions on socializing, work, shopping, and other travel.
However, there’s mounting evidence that the pandemic didn’t make roads any safer – in fact, it has done the opposite. Not only were there more car crashes, a report by Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found the US pedestrian fatality rate rose 20% in 2020.
By collecting data from state governments, the GHSA found that between January and June last year, there were 2.957 pedestrian deaths. This equates to 2.2 deaths per billion miles traveled, compared with 1.8 deaths in the same period in 2019.
The pandemic has put drivers at greater risk
Changes in driving habits, such as speeding, reckless decisions, or being distracted or impaired, have increased the risks to drivers and pedestrians. Safety experts say that the pandemic has lead to an increase in deaths as drivers have become less attentive.
The National Safety Council’s traffic deaths count also increased by 8% to 42,060 in the US in 2020, even though accidents, injuries, and deaths should have been lower. According to the National Safety Council, this is the largest increase since 1924.
The figures from the second half of 2020 haven’t been analyzed yet. But, the GHSA noted that the levels seen so far are at a historic high. The organization has urged that traffic safety measures, such as better enforcement and community outreach, should be implemented.