VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - AAA has come out with new data that shows although there were less drivers on roadways during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more traffic fatalities reported.
Additionally, the U.S. government data showed traffic fatalities surged, along with an increase in crashes involving impairment, speeding, red-light running, aggressiveness, and non-seatbelt use. The data was its highest level in over a decade, AAA said.
In a press release AAA said, "To understand the rise in dangerous driving behaviors, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety examined whether the pandemic changed the composition of drivers on the road. It found that while most drivers reduced their driving during the pandemic, a small proportion actually increased their driving. Making matters worse, those who increased their driving appeared to be riskier than average, even after accounting for their age, gender, and how much they drove."
According to the data, people who increased their driving during the pandemic were more likely to report engaging in the following risky driving behaviors in the previous 30 days:
Virginia and Hampton Roads saw the same trends. January through September 2020 versus that time in 2021, data showed an increase in overall fatalities on our roadways, as well as an increase in speed-related fatalities.
The pandemic and restrictions caused by it affected travel behavior and traffic safety in the United States. According to the Foundation’s newest American Driving Survey, during the early months of the pandemic, the average daily number of driving trips made by U.S. adults decreased by an estimated 42% in April 2020, rebounded slightly, and then leveled off in the second half of 2020 at 2.2 daily trips, roughly 20% below the 2.7 daily trips in the second half of 2019.