FEWER CARS, MORE CRASHES, PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS NOTE
It seems hard to fathom, but, despite the shift from commuting to work to working from home, Indiana saw an increase in the number of fatal car crashes in 2020 as compared to the year before. In fact, in Marion County, where the offices of Ramey & Hailey are housed, fatal crashes increased 31% in 2020 compared with the prior year.
Apparently, we Hoosiers are not alone – the increase in traffic deaths matches a nationwide trend. As the National Safety Council reports, despite a drop of 13% in vehicle miles traveled, vehicle deaths increased 24%!
But, why??? Why did traffic deaths go up even when more people were staying at home? “It’s tragic that in the U.S., we took cars off the roads and didn’t reap any safety benefits, National Safety Council president said. In fact, she points out, motor vehicle deaths are estimated to be the highest in 13 years! It’s clear, she concluded, that risky driving behaviors have gone up, including:
- speeding (over 80 mph)
- driving without a seatbelt
- driving impaired
- driving distracted.
The National Safety Council has called on President Biden to commit to zero death plan that would include the following:
- mandatory ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers
- installation and use of automated enforcement
- laws banning all cell phone use, including hands-free
- upgraded seat belt laws
- 3-tiered licensing system for novice drivers
- Infrastructure improvements
California-based personal injury attorney Michael Ehline predicts that car accident speeding deaths will increase through 2021, describing it as the “COVID-19 Effect”. Realities include:
- There are more Uber, Lyft, Amazon Prime, and FedEx vehicles driving on emptier roads, giving the drivers room to “step on it”.
- Drivers are being more aggressive, perhaps due to financial pressures, depression over job loss, and intra family stress.
- Wrong-way driving has increased per capita. “We hypothesized that some of the causes of wrong-way driving start before a driver enters the ramp.”
At Ramey & Hailey Law, we have learned over the past forty years that many of the victims of motor vehicle accidents (the real people behind all those statistics from the Safety Board) are pedestrians or passengers in vehicles hit by other cars and trucks. Our mission is to help victims – or their surviving family members – get their voices heard and gain the financial compensation they need for medical bills and income replacement.
Even if a death has not been caused in an accident, what we have learned is that, without expert help, the most devastating effects of having been in an accident might be financial.