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Traffic Related Fatalities Rise Amidst Pandemic

While there are fewer vehicles on the road due to stay-at-home orders, traffic related fatalities appear to be on the rise nationwide according to news reports.

Officials suggest one reason could be that less traffic may be enticing drivers to speed. In an article published this week, the News & Observer reported that “…while the State Highway Patrol has issued fewer citations overall, the number of drivers charged with going in excess of 25 mph over the speed limit is up 13%, to 12,538 through May 4…”

The same article also noted, “One category of fatal crashes that is up significantly is those involving “heavy trucks,” including tractor-trailers. There have been 32 so far this year, up 45.5%, resulting in 40 deaths, which is 60% more than last year. The DMV data does not indicate who is at fault in these crashes.” The increase could be related to more commercial vehicles on highways transporting needed supplies.

According to a Washington Post article also published this week, “Reports of drag racing, drivers chasing land-speed records, and more speed-related crashes began setting off alarm bells for police agencies across the country almost immediately after states began their coronavirus lockdowns in mid-March and traffic volumes fell dramatically.”

With all of the COIVD-19 related worries, being emotionally distracted may lead to recklessness. The Post article said, “…motorists speeding now may be doing so for the same reasons they do in normal times.” Citing boredom and a need for an adrenaline rush as possible causes people “might find speeding a liberating experience.”

As we practice safety measures of social distancing and washing our hands, let’s not forget about being safe on the roads.  Safety is is paramount to all of us.

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