The last 18 months have been among the hardest in living memory for many Americans. The Covid-19 pandemic was perhaps the biggest (but certainly not the only) reason for this. Even now, the pandemic is far from over, in spite of widespread vaccine availability.
While Covid-19 took an obvious toll on the economy and the public’s mental health, it was also associated with problems which were less predictable but nonetheless very deadly. Law enforcement agencies in California and throughout the United States have observed a sharp increase in extreme speeding, aggressive driving and related car accident fatalities.
With so many people staying home for several months in 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there was a 13.2 percent reduction in the annual number of miles driven nationwide. Normally, that would be associated with a similar reduction in traffic accidents and fatalities, but the opposite occurred. Traffic deaths increased by about 7.2 percent last year.
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, many drivers felt emboldened by less traffic on the roads and began to drive significantly faster than normal (often in excess of 100 mph). There was also an increase in the rates of drunk and drugged driving on U.S. roads as well.
From January through June, the California Highway Patrol nearly doubled the number of tickets it issued for driving above 100 mph (compared to pre-pandemic levels) It also significantly increased the number of tickets for other reckless driving behaviors.
Even though we are now in the latter half of 2021 and much of the country was “reopened,” the dangerous driving behaviors have largely continued. Law enforcement agencies and public safety officials are teaming up to release public service announcements asking drivers to make better choices behind the wheel while engaging in summer travel this year.
If you or someone you love was struck by a driver who was speeding, driving aggressively or impaired by alcohol or drugs, you may have been a victim of this unacceptable pandemic-related driving trend. Please remember that you have the right to pursue justice and compensation in the form of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.