Most of 2020 was marked by the Coronavirus pandemic and all the ways that it changed our daily lives. Although Georgia wasn’t as “locked down” as other states were, nearly everyone felt the stress of needing to work/attend school at home, reducing social activities and generally being unable to enjoy their normal routines.
Apparently, many Americans thought the best way to relieve their stress was to take advantage of the relatively empty streets and highways. Here in Georgia and around the country, reckless driving, extreme speeding and traffic fatalities rose sharply in 2020.
Data show that the biggest spike was observed in April, May and June, which was when many states were under stay-at-home orders. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, the second quarter saw traffic fatalities increase by 30 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Here in Georgia, during a two-week period in April, state troopers issued more than 140 citations for speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour. We were not alone. In just one month in California, speeding tickets for driving over 100 mph increased 87 percent.
The biggest uptick in traffic fatalities was among drivers and passengers of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Pedestrian and Bicyclist deaths were not significantly changed. At least some of the trend can be explained by an increase in motorcycle ridership (and reckless riding) by people who either hadn’t ridden in years or were new to riding.
It is important to point out that all of this occurred during a time in which overall traffic volume had significantly decreased. In order to increase road fatalities with fewer cars on the road, many of those who were driving must have been making very poor decisions.
It will take some time before we receive final traffic accident statistics from 2020, including all those who suffered injuries. But if you or a loved one were seriously harmed by a reckless or negligent driver within the past year, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and legal options.