With all of the economic shutdowns in 2020 and with people putting their vacation plans on hold or not traveling to work, it was a surprise when the fatality rates on the road went up. Most people had assumed that there would be fewer fatalities since there were fewer cars on the road. But the rates were so much higher that there were actually more fatalities in 2020 than the year before, despite the reduction in traffic.
Although these stats tend to lag behind a bit, we can look at some of the statistics from 2021 to see what happened the following year. For the first three quarters of the year, when taken as a whole, the fatality rates did rise. However, both the second and third quarters individually saw a reduction when compared to 2020. This means that it is likely that the fatality rates on the road are dropping.
Is this because people are driving again?
One reason that the rate may be falling is if people are passing away in the same numbers, but there is simply more traffic. This would fit since everything is opened back up, and people are traveling more now. This suggests that traffic levels alone are not to blame for the number of fatalities on the road.
It will be interesting to see how this progresses as we move through 2022 and beyond. Historically, car accident fatality rates have been dropping, but there are long periods, sometimes encompassing multiple years, in which these stats will rise before falling again. The hope is that 2020 was simply one of these peaks and that now rates will fall for a substantial amount of time afterward.
In any case, it’s very clear that you still face a lot of risks on the road, so make sure you know what options you have if you get injured or if you lose a loved one.