There is growing evidence that some drivers have taken the lockdown as permission to drive however they want. As traffic and road congestion plummeted, streets and highways apparently shone like beacons for certain people. It created an “apparent open season on reckless driving,” according to the National Safety Council.
“The level of extreme speeding is really shocking,” added a professor at The Ohio State University. “What we’re seeing here — the fact that there’s less traffic and more speeding — I think that’s evidence that traffic is a great controller of speed.”
Unfortunately, traffic congestion probably is the reason some people don’t speed on a more routine basis. It simply isn’t feasible to rocket down the road when it is crowded with other vehicles.
What the National Safety Council and Ohio State have found is a 37% jump in the fatality rate per miles driven. They compared April’s crashes with those of the same period last year.
Viewed as a ratio between fatal crashes and all collisions, the problem is striking in cities around the world. In New York City, that ratio grew by 167% in April compared to a year ago. In Chicago, the ratio grew by 292% and in Madrid, the ratio grew by 470%. The greater the ratio of fatal crashes to overall collisions, the greater the percentage of crashes that are deadly.
Because traffic is down overall so much, however, the overall death toll has dropped. So, what we’re seeing is fewer crashes, but more crashes that involve fatalities.
To look at it another way, in New York City the number of fatal accidents per 1,000 collisions rose from 1.2 to 3.2 during April.
The problem seems to be super-speeders
It doesn’t seem to be the case that everyone is driving faster. Instead, a small group of super-speeders seems to primarily responsible. Still, there are enough of them to have driven up the overall speed of traffic in New York City. According to a traffic analytics company, April speeds in the Big Apple jumped by 44% over last year, from 28 mph to 41 mph on average.
We don’t have comparable data for Chattanooga, but it’s very likely we would see similar results. Have you seen super-speeders out on our roads during this low-traffic period? Have you been in a collision with one? If you have, you should discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney.