Traffic fatalities have been on the decline across the United States over the last few years. Data released by the National Safety Council shows an estimated 38,000 nationwide road deaths in 2019. That estimate is two percent lower than the 39,404 fatalities in 2018. It is four percent lower than the 40,231 fatalities in 2017.
The number of traffic fatalities may be climbing again in 2020 at a greater rate than previous years, according to StreetsBlog. Yet, the overall number of drivers on the road has dropped due to more people being out of work, working from home, or adhering to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
Significant increase in fatal crashes during 2020
Publicly available crash data for the first half of 2020 was compiled by traffic engineering firm Sam Schwartz. The firm found that there was 12.7 percent increase (1.02 to 1.15) in the traffic fatality rate per 100 million from the first half of 2019.
Richard Retting is the national practice leader for safety and research at Sam Schwartz. He noted a five percent decrease in traffic fatalities in 22 states and the District of Columbia during the first half of 2020. Montana wasn't one of those states. There were 74 reported traffic fatalities across the state during the first half of 2019. There were 82 statewide traffic fatalities during the same period in 2020.
Some road safety advocates have associated the rising traffic fatality rate in 2020 with the decline in the number of cars on the road. There are many drivers who have the urge to speed. With fewer cars on the road, these drivers are taking the risk of driving at dangerous speeds.
What's causing the increase in fatal crashes?
Law enforcement officers have reported drivers traveling at speeds well over 100 mph in several states, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Speeding is one of the leading factors in fatal crashes. In fact, it caused 9,378 traffic fatalities across the U.S. in 2018 — 67 of which happened in Montana.
Overall, there have been fewer crashes this year due to fewer cars on the road. The crashes have been generally more severe due to speeding and reckless driving, however.
What should I do if I was hurt in a serious crash?
If you or a loved one was injured in a serious crash caused by speeding and reckless driving, you may be eligible for compensation through a car accident claim. To learn more about your legal options, speak to an experienced attorney at Braukmann Law, PLLC in Billings, Montana.
Our legal team can help you build a strong case against the at-fault driver. We do this by investigating your crash and gathering critical evidence. We can also help maximize your compensation by negotiating with the at-fault driver's insurance provider for a fair settlement.
To schedule your free legal consultation, simply fill out our contact form online.