New preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that as Americans traveled fewer miles due to the pandemic, fatality rates increased.
Overall, during the first nine months of 2020, deaths rose 4.6% despite a 14.5% drop in vehicle miles traveled. During the third quarter of 2020, after states lifted coronavirus lockdowns, the death rate rose 13.1% compared to the same period in 2019.
Drivers may believe that lax law enforcement allows for riskier driving behavior. Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, told the Associated Press: “A big factor here is the lack of enforcement. We are hearing from many states that traffic stops have declined during COVID-19. Drivers feel like they can speed and get away with it,” he said.
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