Enlarge /. Close up of a red stop sign after a traffic accident. The sign is badly scratched and dented. Many vehicle accidents are attributed to drunk driving in Hawaii. Unfortunately, a lot of people die.
Thanks to the pandemic, Americans drove 13 percent fewer miles in 2020 than the previous year. But the move to teleworking and road closures hasn't made our roads safer. In fact, according to Prelimina, our roads have become much more dangerous over the past yearEnlarge /. Close up of a red stop sign after a traffic accident. The sign is badly scratched and dented. Many vehicle accidents are attributed to drunk driving in Hawaii. Unfortunately, many people are fatal. The data collected by the National Security Council. The council estimates that 40,060 people were killed in accidents. This represents an increase of 8 percent compared to 2019. The increase looks even more shocking when normalized – it rose from 1.2 to 1.49 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles driven, an increase of 24 percent.
The National Security Council also estimates that nearly 4.8 million people were injured in traffic accidents seriously enough to seek medical attention for non-fatal injuries. The cost of all this carnage? A whopping $ 474.4 billion in deaths, injuries and property damage.
Some states did better than others. Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Wyoming all saw decreases in road deaths, although for some it was less than 5 percent.
In Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, deaths rose more than 15 percent.
One culprit can be reckless driving. Throughout 2020, there were frequent reports of traffic police issuing more parking tickets, especially for speeds over 100 mph.
The National Security Council, for its part, has some recommendations that appear reasonable, including fairer implementation of road safety laws and improvements to infrastructure, lowering speed limits, banning the use of cell phones (including hands-free kits) while driving, and stricter enforcement of seat belt laws and strengthened Use of advanced driver assistance systems that are known to benefit safety, among other things.
"It is tragic that we have taken cars off the road in the US and have failed to gain a safety benefit," said Lorraine M. Martin, President and CEO of the National Safety Council. "These data show the lack of an effective road safety culture. The time has come to take a holistic and effective approach to road safety, and NSC stands ready to support all stakeholders, including the federal government."