- A new National Safety Council report found there to be an "open season on reckless driving" during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- That's because motor-vehicle fatality rates per miles driven spiked 14% in March, coinciding with widespread stay-at-home orders across the US.
- The increase in fatalities is despite a decrease in overall traffic and miles driven due to COVID-19.
- The agency also estimates that road deaths are up 2% in Q1 of 2020 as compared to Q1 of 2019.
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When US states began mandating stay-at-home orders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic dropped across the nation . But unfortunately, that didn't mean speeding or motor-vehicle fatalities dropped accordingly.
A new report from the National Safety Council , a nonprofit focused on eliminating preventable deaths, found that motor-vehicle fatality rates per miles driven spiked by 14% in March despite stay-at-home orders. The report, first featured on NPR , pointed out that the increase was despite the number of roadway deaths dropping by 8% and the number of miles driven dropping by more than 18.6% in March 2020 compared to March 2019.
"Disturbingly, we have open lanes of traffic and an apparent open season on reckless driving," Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said. "Right now, in the midst of a global pandemic and crisis, we should take it as our civic duty to drive safely.
"If we won't do it for ourselves, we should do it for our first responders, our law enforcement and our healthcare workers, who are rightly focused on coronavirus patients and should not be overwhelmed by preventable car crashes."
The NSC found that even though the overall fatality numbers decreased in March 2020, road deaths are up by 2% through the first three months of this year as compared to the same time last year.
People are driving up to 60% faster on major US roadways as traffic has basically disappeared during the quarantine, according to data from April. Multiple police officers also told Business Insider about the "free-for-all" happening on empty roads, and noted a concerning increase in speeding citations for people traveling at over 100 mph.
You can read the National Safety Council's full report here .
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