The streets may be less-congested during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, clear roadways may actually be making it more dangerous for drivers. Despite a decrease in the overall number of traffic collisions, Texas has seen a spike in fatal car accidents. Police and safety advocates have increasing concerns regarding motorists that are reportedly driving more recklessly and at high speeds.
COVID-19 Fatal Crash Statistics
- In comparison to 2019, early data indicates a 14% increase in fatality rates per miles driven in March.
- Texas has experienced a 6% increase in the number of roadway fatalities in the first three months of 2020.
- In the eight-county Houston Metro Region, the number of fatal crashes linked to speeding rose 13% between March 12th and May 31st, in comparison to the same period in 2019.
- In April, the country’s monthly mileage death rates increased 36.6 percent in comparison to April 2019.
- The mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven was 1.22 in March compared to 1.07 in March of last year.
- The mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven was 1.47 in April, compared to 1.08 in April 2019.
- In Bexar County, while fatalities dropped in the third quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, the fourth quarter saw a spike. Overall, fatalities from motor vehicle collisions was higher in 2020 than in 2019. To see a full comparison of Bexar County traffic accidents in 2019 and 2020, check out our study.
Increases in Speeding & Distracted Driving
It’s not surprising that speeding and distracted driving is up, considering traffic congestion for those that commute has largely disappeared. Traffic data shows that in some cities, the average speeds have more than doubled, and are significantly higher than the posted limits. Some drivers are seeing emptier roads as permission to drive as fast as they want; and traveling at speeds in excess of 80 mph on highways, or even in neighborhoods. Almost immediately after states across the country announced coronavirus lockdown orders in mid-March, did an increase in reports of drag racing and drivers chasing land-speed records also occur.
What’s particularly troubling, is speeding drivers are also more distracted. A recent study released by the data analytics company Zendrive discovered that:
- Speeding is up by 27% on average.
- Phone usage by motorists went up by 38% in mid-April.
- Hard braking climbed by 25%.
The study also reports that these behavioral changes have contributed to a 20 percent increase in collisions per million miles traveled since the lockdowns began.
Tips for Avoiding Accidents
Reduce the risk of a car accident by following these tips:
- Stay off the road. Many state and local directives are advising you stay home unless you are running an essential errand or have an emergency.
- Follow traffic laws and drive defensively. Buckle up and obey the speed limit, even if traffic is light. Pay attention and stay alert while driving, because someone else might not be.
- Understand and prevent the common types of distracted driving. Common examples include texting or talking on the phone, eating or drinking, adjusting the music or GPS, and putting on makeup. There are many forms of distractions that fall into one or all three of these categories:
- Visual: eyes are taken off the road.
- Manual: hands are taken off of the steering wheel.
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
- Let go of other drivers’ mistakes. Aggressive driving causes 66 percent of traffic fatalities, according to SafeMotorist.com. Instead of driving aggressively after another driver has made a negligent error, breathe deeply, and continue to drive defensively.
- Alert the authorities when necessary. Pull over and notify the police if you see another driver being erratic and putting themselves or others in danger.
What to Do if You Get in a Car Accident
It’s important to know what steps to take if you do become involved in a car accident, as it can be overwhelming and stressful after one occurs.
- Medical Care: Evaluate your injuries and get help. Call 911 or ask someone to do it for you. If your injuries seem minor, visit your general physician as soon as possible.
- Find Safety: Move your car out of traffic if you can, but try to photograph the scene beforehand. Focus on visible damage to your car, as well as the positioning of your car in relation to other vehicles, buildings, the sidewalk, or other obstacles. Skid marks or debris you see from the crash are also important to document.
- Collect Information: Talk with the other driver(s) to exchange insurance and contact information.
- Stay on the scene: If you do not need an ambulance, wait for the police officer. Ask how you can get a copy of the police report.
- Call your insurer: Report your accident to your insurance company as soon as possible to learn next steps.
- Speak to an attorney: Call or contact an experienced car accident attorney that can advise you about your legal options for obtaining compensation for your injuries.
The Texas Law Guns are Here to Help
If you have been involved in a car accident, contact the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm. Many collisions are the result of another driver’s reckless actions, often distracted driving or speeding. Our San Antonio car accident attorneys have a proven track record and will help you recover maximum compensation. Call (210) 777-4878 or reach us online to schedule your free consultation today.