In 2020 more people worked from home, only ran necessary errands, and in general stayed home rather than travel for entertainment or vacations. This led to a decrease in traffic that year compared to 2019. However, one number that did surprisingly go up in 2020 were traffic fatalities in Indiana.
How did 2020 traffic fatalities compare to 2019 traffic fatalities?
Traffic may have gone down in 2020, but that does not mean traffic fatalities went down during that same period. Indiana saw an 8.1% uptick in traffic fatalities in 2020 compared to the number of traffic fatalities in 2019. Indiana State Police report that there were 813 traffic fatalities in 2020. In 2019, that number sat at 752. These numbers reflect a nationwide trend. In 2020, the U.S. saw an 8% uptick in fatal motor vehicle crashes compared to 2019.
Why have traffic fatalities increased?
While it may seem like the increase in work-from-home employees along with the decrease in commuter traffic numbers led to fewer traffic fatalities in 2020, this is not the case. The number of speeding tickets dropped, despite evidence that speed among motorists went up. This uptick in speed may have led to more traffic fatalities. Social factors such as unemployment, food insecurity and eviction also add to the stress motorists carry. In addition, in Indiana one-quarter of motorists involved in fatal crashes were legally impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Sadly, fatal motor vehicle accidents seem to be common even when traffic itself is reduced. People may be more inclined to take risks when they feel they are the only ones on the road, leading to fatal motor vehicle accidents. Those in Indiana who have lost a loved one in a fatal car crash will want to explore all their options for compensation, including the possibility of pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit if appropriate.