Over the course of the pandemic, the number of deaths resulting from car accidents has surged. The reasons behind this aren’t entirely clear, but experts believe that this increase is due to more erratic behavior in response to the effects of the pandemic.
2020 Saw a Significantly Higher Rate of Accident Fatalities
While the pandemic led to fewer drivers on the roads, the rate of deaths increased to the surprise of experts. Specifically, there were 38,680 deaths resulting from accidents in the U.S. in 2020, which was the highest number seen since 2007.
The reasons for the increase are speculative, but there are several possibilities that could have contributed to the rate. One potential reason was the increased release of anxieties on the road among drivers, along with increased rates of drinking and driving due to stressors such as depression, isolation, and loneliness.
Some researchers believed the roads would become safer following the nationwide lockdown and the waning effects of the pandemic. However, many drivers are still exhibiting unsafe behavior on the road, practicing more aggressive driving and consuming more alcohol.
The Effects of “Arousal Breakout”
According to Frank Farley, a psychology professor at Philadelphia’s Temple University, a phenomenon known as “arousal breakout” is largely behind the increased rate of reckless driving amid the pandemic. Farley believes that due to the fact that people have been forced to spend more time indoors and adhere to certain restrictions that many disagree with, people have experienced “arousal breakout” that leads to more rebellious driving behavior.
This behavior comes in contradiction to the improved safety measures that have helped decrease the rate of accident fatalities on the road. Over the last several decades, measures such as more restrictive seat belt laws, improved stability and brake designs, and others have helped make the roads much safer in recent years.
Prior to the pandemic, the rate of fatal accidents decreased from approximately 55,000 in 1970 to 36,096 by 2019. In 2020, this would all change as fatalities increased by 7.2%. The rate continued to increase into 2021, likely because people have struggled with adapting to the circumstances of the pandemic.
It’s unclear when the rate may decrease and drivers might begin to return to safer habits, but the rate of fatal accidents has garnered minimal attention from the public.
Speak With a Reputable Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago
Even if car accidents don’t result in deaths, these incidents often lead to serious injuries and other damages. Many accidents also result from the negligence of one or more individuals. If you or a loved one was injured or died in a car accident in Illinois or the Chicago area, you may be able to recover compensation from negligent parties for damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and others.
To determine if you have a valid case and find out what options you have available to you regarding compensation, the attorneys at Cushing Law Offices can discuss a potential car accident case in a free consultation. Simply contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our attorneys.