As the country has been grappling with the effects of COVID-19, most areas saw a reduction in the amount of traffic on the roadways due to stay at home orders. In some areas, household travel was reduced by 70% or more. However, in many areas around the country, the number of reckless driving cases has increased. Unfortunately, an increase in reckless driving often correlates to an increase in fatal car accidents.
Fatal Accident Rate in West Virginia
The news of an increase in reckless driving is not a welcome development in West Virginia. In this state, we currently have a fatality rate of 14.7 per 100,000 people. This is much higher than the national average of 11.6 per 100,000 people, and the fatality rate in West Virginia is also higher than those in the surrounding states.
Increased Risks During COVID-19
Unfortunately, in many areas across the country, it seems that a decrease in traffic on the roadway has led to many people gaining a false sense of security. Connecticut State Police Trooper Josue Dorelus told ABC News’ Transportation Correspondent Gio Benitez that “We’re finding that with the open roads, certain individuals are taking this as an opportunity to push their vehicles to the limit.”
This problem is not limited to Connecticut. Officials in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and more have all reported increases in reckless driving and speeding over the last few months. The increase in reckless driving during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) to issue a statement the urges drivers across the country to slow down and drive more safely.
Tips for Avoiding Accidents
As the nation continues to reopen, the National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt has issued a call for roadway safety. He said that, as the country pushes towards a new normal, drivers need to take steps to avoid careless and negligent driving. This includes:
- Not operating above the posted speed limit
- Not driving while distracted by cell phones or other electronic devices
- Watching out for pedestrians and bicyclists who have become accustomed to less traffic
- Giving yourself enough space between the vehicles around you to react to other driver’s negligence
What to Do if You Get in an Accident
Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still rampaging across the country, most places have lifted stay at home orders. As more and more drivers return to the roadway, particularly as summer travel picks up, we need to be prepared for an increase in traffic. If you are involved in an accident caused by another person during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you need to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Even though you may be hesitant to seek assistance from an attorney during the pandemic, please understand that most Charleston car accident lawyers are still operating. At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, we offer no-cost, no-obligation consultations and are capable of handling initial consultations remotely over the phone or through various forms of video conferencing. For a free consultation, you can contact us online or call (304) 720-6700.