A new highway safety report highlights several worrying trends observed throughout the United States in 2020 – many of which were likely influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) recently released the 18th edition of the Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws report. The AHAS cited several opportunities for improvement and recommended various solutions in its report.
Table of Contents
Disturbing Trends on the Highway
The report identified several disturbing patterns that emerged on highways in 2020, including:
- Increase in the number of drivers exceeding the speed limit
- A rise in impaired driving
- A rise in distracted driving
- A decrease in the use of seat belts
How COVID-19 Has Impacted Traffic Accidents
In its report, the AHAS attributed these trends to the impact of COVID-19 on American life. As a result of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, traffic was much lighter in 2020 on many roads and highways. As streets emptied, research suggests that some drivers became more reckless.
Drivers who were less concerned about safety or legal consequences “put the pedal to the metal” and chose to drive at higher speeds. They were also more likely to be involved in accidents because they were impaired or distracted behind the wheel.
Many drivers with a false sense of security simply stopped wearing their seat belts regularly, making crash scenarios extremely dangerous. The AHAS report indicated that these reckless behaviors would likely reflect a “substantial uptick” in accident-related fatalities when more data from 2020 are released.
Ways to Improve Traffic Safety
The AHAS refers to the rise in 2020’s accident fatality rate as a “major public health epidemic” and recommended several improvements to traffic safety infrastructure in response. Essential components of the AHAS strategy include:
- Increased use and minimum performance standards for advanced safety and crash avoidance technologies
- Increased use of automated enforcement systems such as red light and stop sign traffic cameras
- Robust safety standards for occupants of autonomous vehicles
- Advances in impaired driving prevention and detection technologies
- Safety improvements to large commercial trucks, such as automatic emergency braking systems or speed-limiting devices
- Improvements to road safety infrastructure to protect pedestrians and bicyclists
- Requirements for rear seat belt reminder technologies in new vehicles
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today for Help
If a negligent driver injured you in Alabama, you could be entitled to significant compensation. In the aftermath of a crash, your focus should be on your treatment and recovery. With the team at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C on your side, you can be confident that your case is in the right hands.
Contact us today to discuss the details of your case, and let us help you seek justice. Our consultations are always 100% free and confidential. We won’t charge you anything for our services until we recover compensation for you.
Harvey B. Morris is a lifelong Alabamian who has been practicing law in Huntsville since getting his law degree and passing the state bar in 1966.