Among other changes resulting from a worldwide pandemic was driving habits. When sheltering at home became more than a suggestion, all roads – from rural paths to once-bustling freeways – seemed practically empty. The initial assumption was that traffic jams would temporarily cease and motor vehicle accidents would decrease.
Reduced commutes resulted in wide-open roads for those required to travel to their workplaces and others who simply wanted to get out of the house. Instead of a downturn in accidents, collisions were at an alarming level. Empty freeways led to more risky driving. City streets saw the return of drag racing.
According to recent preliminary traffic data, previous and reckless driving habits on traffic-free roads are now seeing a welcome reduction.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that from April to June 2022, fatalities were reduced, ending seven consecutive quarters of tragic growth. The second quarter of this year saw close to 10,600 fatalities, nearly five percent less than the same quarter in 2021.
NHTSA also reported that the first half of 2022 saw miles increase by approximately 43 billion, growing by 2.8 percent from the same time last year. Even more welcome news saw the fatality rate for the same time period reduce to 1.27 per 100 million miles traveled. This statistic represented a much-needed reduction from 1.3 fatal accidents in the first half of last year.
CCC Intelligent Solutions tracked claims by percentage where airbag deployment played a significant role. Those claims were at nearly four percent in 2019. The pandemic and subsequent business closures saw it skyrocket to more than seven percent, ending the year one percent higher. In 2021 saw airbag deployments were higher than normal until May of 2022, which saw a welcome reduction.
While cars slow down and drivers are more attentive to the road in front of them, many who get behind the wheel may find safer driving while following posted speed limits may be a hard habit to break.