Risky Driving Behaviors Increasing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Risky Driving Behaviors Increasing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

by / Monday, 04 January 2021 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car driving fast at night.

When you look back at the early days of the pandemic, what are some of the things you remember most about that time? For many people, that answer might be about how quiet and deserted the streets were because of the stay-at-home orders that had recently gone into effect. With so many people working from home and only going out for essential chores like buying food, lots of people were suddenly driving a lot less often than they normally would be.

But while people were driving less, the rate of traffic fatalities didn’t drop in proportion to the lower number of miles traveled. You might also remember seeing several news reports from around the country about police stopping drivers who were driving far exceeding the speed limit, often driving over 100 MPH. Many police departments also became more relaxed about making traffic stops during the pandemic to prevent coming in contact with the virus, which made people feel more confident that they could get away with going over the speed limit. Unfortunately, while far too many people saw those open roads as an invitation to speed, that wasn’t the only type of risky behavior some drivers engaged in.

More Impaired Driving

Even though we don’t have a lot of statistical data about driver behavior during the pandemic, there is data to indicate an increase in impaired driving compared to recent years. Car and Driver reports that a study conducted by the NHTSA found that before March 16, 2020, 21.3% of people who died in fatal car crashes prior to March 16, 2020 tested positive for alcohol. But once the pandemic was in full force in the United States, that number grew to 26.9%.

But it’s important to remember that impaired driving doesn’t only involve alcohol. This study also found that positive tests for cannabinoids increased from 21.4% to 31.2% and positive tests for opioids increased from 7.6% to 12.9%.

Lower Seat Belt Use

Whether there’s a pandemic or not, wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself during a car crash. But there is some evidence to suggest that fewer people have been wearing their seat belts during the pandemic, which could be a factor in the increase of traffic fatalities over the past few months. Data from the NHTSA has shown an increase in “ejection rates,” meaning there has been an increase in the number of people who were thrown from their vehicles during car crashes.

Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer

Whether a car accident occurs during a pandemic or during more ordinary times, the consequences can potentially change your life. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, one of the best things you can have is a car accident lawyer on your side who can fight for you to get all the compensation you deserve. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’ve been helping the victims of Michigan car accidents for over 20 years. Contact us today for help with your case.

Image: iStock / kurmyshov