AAA: Road traffic volume dropped amid pandemic, but fatal crashes increased

MARYLAND – The amount of drivers on the roads during the pandemic dipped 42%. However, traffic fatalities are up, according to new research from AAA. AAA says 38,600 people died in vehicle crashes in 2020. That’s the largest number of fatalities since 2007, and 7.2% higher than 2019. Meanwhile, road deaths dropped in almost all other high-income countries since 2019.

About 4% of drivers were actually on the roads more, though. That group is largely made up of young adult males. Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic Ragina Ali says with that group, came more dangerous driving habits. “We saw an increase in everything from the amount of texting they were doing while driving, the amount of speeding they were doing while driving. So, while the majority of safe drivers, so to speak, were staying at home, there was this small group that were actually driving more,” she said.

Ali says there are some safety tips you can follow to avoid becoming one of those fatalities. “Make sure that you’re not driving after you’ve been drinking or consuming any illegal drugs, or anything like that. Make sure that you’re cognizant behind the wheel and giving your full attention to the task of driving. That goes into making sure that you’re not driving distracted,” said Ali.

Plus, you should also make sure to always wear your seatbelt and obey speed limits, according to Ali. If you encounter a dangerous driver, AAA recommends maintaining space around your vehicle, and contacting 911 if needed. “Certainly, most of the crashes are preventable,” said Ali.

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