Is COVID-19 Indirectly Making Our Roads Safer?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2020 | Car Wrecks

The COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting the United States for most of 2020, with consequences forcing major changes to almost every aspect of normal life. One change that has slid under the radar, so to speak, is that for a variety of reasons, the number of traffic accidents has dropped sharply since March (though evidence suggests that the rate of car crashes has actually risen). It is worth studying the trends as to why this is happening and what we can learn from it when movement restrictions are lifted. If you must leave your home, knowing that your risk of a traffic accident is lower may offer some temporary comfort.

Why Bother Studying This?

Though the average person might be able to guess why the number of traffic accidents has dropped since the beginning of the pandemic – fewer people required to commute means fewer cars on the road, which in turn means fewer cars to get into accidents – studies are still being done, so that any deeper causation might be discovered. Any information that can be divined from this type of study might wind up saving lives in the future. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that while the overall number of accidents has decreased, the rate has been rising slowly but steadily.

In addition to tracking causes of accidents and overall frequency of injury, this type of study is relevant in determining the future for certain revenue types – for example, tolls make a lot of money for states, and with fewer drivers on the road, that revenue stream drops or disappears. Also, in Texas, gasoline taxes are a major part of the transportation budget, and when commuters buy less gasoline, there may be less in the budget for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to conduct necessary road repairs. Traffic data can help provide more insight.

Higher Frequency of Crashes

While most people look at the number of auto accidents declining and determine that COVID-19 has actually made Texas roads slightly safer, the reality is that the numbers actually establish a more frequent rate for crashes. Data from INRIX, a transportation data company, shows that in some states, the absence of traffic jams and congestion has led to those drivers still on the road exceeding the posted speed limits, even at times of day when the most traffic would normally be present. Even Austin’s own data portal shows a higher injury and fatality count than the previous year’s data, despite a lower number of crashes.

What most commuters can take from these studies right now is that traffic patterns are always evolving, and caution is always recommended, though things may significantly change if current patterns continue. If you are involved in an accident with a person who is speeding, you should handle it in the same manner as if a pandemic were not currently happening – very often, if it can be proven that the driver was speeding, their negligence can be presumed, making it much easier to establish their liability for any injuries you sustain.

Contact a New Braunfels Auto Accident Lawyer

As of this writing, the pandemic and its restrictions continue to be in force, and commuters will continue to work remotely, for the most part. If you must drive on Texas roads, caution is always important, but if you are involved in an accident, you can contact an experienced New Braunfels car accident lawyer at the Bettersworth Law Firm to help get you through the legal aftermath. We are happy to try and assist you with your case. Contact our office today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.