Accidents and speeding tickets are way up this year, likely as a result of slightly decreased traffic – and perhaps some cabin fever – during the ongoing pandemic.
Crazed driving is a problem that has spread across the country in recent months. In July, Ohio had its deadliest month for drivers since 2007. Vermont has doubled its traffic fatality total in 2020 from 2019.
According to Jalopnik, local police believe that drivers perceive reduced traffic – and reduced enforcement – as a result of a workforce that has been stuck at home and thus not commuting.
As one might expect, the police are reporting a big increase in speeding tickets as well. Traffic violations are way up in Iowa and California. Ohio state troopers have issued 2,200 speeding tickets for speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour since the pandemic began.
It’s important to be mindful that the roads are even more dangerous than usual, even though one might expect the opposite with decreased traffic volume.
None of this is particularly surprising to me. Although I worked from home for several months during the initial COVID-19 lockdowns, my office reopened in June and I’ve been commuting daily since then. Traffic has slowly returned to seemingly normal levels, particularly since schools in my area have largely reopened.
I have noticed that the particularly reckless drivers seem to come out when traffic is a bit lighter. It stands to reason that these people would be emboldened by the apparently empty streets. Perhaps that’s because nobody is breaking 100 miles per hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Interstate 95 doesn’t seem particularly more dangerous than it ever did, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear if Florida has seen a similar increase in traffic tickets and fatalities in 2020.
The moral of this story: be careful out there. Hopefully, things will settle down as we move past the pandemic, but we’re not out of the woods yet.