In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, mandatory lockdowns resulted in many companies moving to remote work, resulting in fewer cars on the road. For months, highways and roads that had been stop-and-go during rush hour were now open and empty. With the decrease in activity, one would expect a decrease in automobile accidents. In fact, the opposite was true.
A National Safety Council report found that an estimated 42,060 individuals died in auto accidents during 2020—this represents an increase of 8% compared to 2019. Eight states had an increase of more than 17% (ranging from 18% to 33%) in the number of estimated deaths due to car crashes. Examined through another lens, if you compare national “traffic deaths to the number of miles driven, the rate of fatalities rose 24%.”