Road Safety Urged as U.S. Reopens

Personal Injury Lawyers Phoenix AZ

Arizona and the rest of the country are poised for reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. Although stay-at-home orders have caused countless issues, there have been a few benefits such as fewer car crashes, less traffic, and a reduced air pollution. The Phoenix metro area saw a more than 30% drop in traffic since mid-March, according to the analytics firm INRIX. As a country, there has been a drop of more than 50 percent in vehicle miles traveled. The biggest drops, over 60 percent, occurred in New York, New Jersey, and Michigan.

Another upside of the stay-at-home orders: saving lives and money. In California alone, those savings amount to some $40 million each day, well over $1 billion since the state went into lockdown mode in March, according researchers at UC Davis. The cost of car crashes, which includes medical expenses and productivity losses stemming from injuries and deaths, was more than $75 billion in 2017. Throw in property damage, emergency responders, insurance costs, congestion, and legal expenses, and the price tag increases. In 2010, crashes cost the U.S. $242 billion.

There are concerns, however, about what will happen once shelter-in-place orders are eased or lifted and businesses start to reopen. Transportation officials fear an increase in crashes as more cars return to the roadways and drivers resume their normal patterns. Before COVID-19, about 86 percent of American commuters drove themselves to and from work. That number is expected increase and so is traffic congestion as many workers will avoid public transit, especially if bus and subway systems cannot provide enough room for riders to socially distance themselves from one another. In addition, travelers will also be filling the roadways as they start taking trips that may have been put off due to the pandemic, especially as air travel remains largely constricted.

Law enforcement officials, meanwhile, have been busy during the pandemic, chasing down speeders, especially drivers going well over 100 mph. Many drivers have been under the impression that officers are too busy responding to coronavirus related calls. Drivers are urged to consider the unwanted strain a car accident could bring to healthcare systems already being stressed by the COVID-19 patients. Speeding also poses a risk to pedestrians and people riding bicycles, especially as many people are spending more time outside to escape the indoors.

The Governors Highways Safety Association (GHSA) is urging drivers to focus on safety as they get back to driving. The organization estimated that 36,120 people were killed on U.S. roadways in 2019, a 1.2% decrease from 2018, and the third straight year of modest declines. If you or a loved one is involved in any kind of accident, involving a pedestrian, bike, car, truck, or motorcycle – contact a personal injury lawyer, a lawyer can help protect your rights and you get the compensation you deserve. Call the office Paul Englander, PLC today.