A report from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety published in the Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws report shows disturbing trends in 2020. Most alarming is the overall “surge” in traffic fatality rates. Despite fewer vehicles on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic, fatality rates have continued to climb. So has the number of disturbing reckless behaviors drivers exhibit while driving.
Report Shows Disturbing Traffic Trends in 2020
The report shows the following alarming trends in 2020:
- Speeding. With fewer cars on the road in many cities, law enforcement has reported more incidents involving speeding. Not only are drivers taking advantage of the open road, but they are also particularly dangerous in some areas, as street racing reports indicate.
- Distracted Driving. Distracted driving continues to be a problem across the United States. Primarily, texting while driving continues to be a significant contributor to accidents. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that cell phone use contributes to around 1.6 million auto accidents each year. These accidents cause 390,000 injuries.
- Seat Belt Use. While dangerous behaviors continue to increase, seat belt usage decreased in 2020. This is especially alarming given that in 2019, more than 2,500 lives could have been saved had the victim been wearing a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that seat belts saved at least 14,000 lives.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Makes Recommendations
In response to data showing disturbing traffic safety trends, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety made some recommendations. First, they are calling on lawmakers to pass some 390 new laws related to auto and driver safety. Next, their full report outlines 16 recommendations that would improve traffic safety. Their recommendations are across five categories:
- Occupant Protection
- Child Passenger Safety
- Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL)
- Impaired Driving
- Distracted Driving
They hope that lawmakers, safety advocates, and motorists will come together to improve traffic safety and reduce the number of injuries and deaths occurring on U.S. roadways.