Traffic Fatalities Highest in 2020 Despite COVID Lockdowns

Deadly car accidents in New York City soared to its greatest count in 2020 even as most drivers stayed home and off the streets during the pandemic forced lockdowns. According to an article in The New York Times, the number of people who have died last year in such collisions in the city reached 243. This total is the highest since 2014, when Mayor Bill de Blasio first brought in his plan to curb accidents and related fatalities on city streets as well as improving its safety for all users. The mayor’s Vision Zero plan intends to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024.

In a pattern that is mirrored nationwide, fatalities stemming from car crashes have spiked, even as traffic thinned as never before. And these deaths across states appear to buck established trends where an economic downturn or slowdown coupled with fewer people driving on roads and highways lead to a reduced number of accidents.

A Window for Reckless Driving

Federal researchers say that the empty streets during this pandemic have brought out drivers across the country to speed recklessly, unmindful of the dangers involved. This behavior included motorcycle riders who took to the roadways even though they had not been on a bike for years. The news report states that even drag racing incidents taking place late at night have increased in frequency as other venues of entertainment slowed or vanished.

In New York City, the report states that driver, passenger and motorcyclist deaths combined have risen 76%, putting it at its highest count in more than a decade. The jump in such types of fatalities is being seen across the nation. In just the period of the three months between April and June, fatality rates nationwide are estimated to have risen 30% over the previous three months, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Dangers of Speeding

Federal researchers attribute many of these deaths to speeding. Officials in New York City stated that a large percentage of its fatal crashes in 2020 were due to speeding drivers – especially in the late hours on highways near Manhattan. Also, twice as many drivers in the city have been caught speeding on automated cameras daily and issued tickets, while the average speed of rush-hour traffic has jumped to over 80%.

Traffic experts link such behavior to streets that are emptier with cautious and older drivers choosing to remain home. Younger drivers who are more likely to take risks and now without their usual sources of entertainment are driving their vehicles more, the NHTSA finds. These crashes are also linked to increased alcohol and drug use.

Speeding and other negligent (careless) actions are often cited in many New York City car accidents and frequently result in major injuries, long-term disabilities as well as fatalities. Drivers who speed, or drive while distracted and/or impaired, drivers who fail to yield the right of way or run red lights and stop signs pose a definite danger to other road users. Such drivers tend to cause not just vehicle-related accidents, but also pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

A victim who has been injured by a negligent (careless) driver may be able to seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families that have lost a loved one may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages as well.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, or if you have lost a loved one in an auto accident caused by a negligent (careless) driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.

For over 49 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

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