As the Pandemic Rages, Carnage on U.S. Roads

Increased stress, increased speeds, more drinking and driving—whatever the reason, traffic fatalities are climbing rapidly even as more Americans leave the car parked at home.

1 minute read

July 23, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Highway Sign in North Carolina

A message from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. | Sharkshock / Shutterstock

In the past, more driving led to more fatalities and injuries on the road, as documented on Planetizen as recently as February 2020. During the pandemic, however, fewer cars on the road has led to more fatalities.

"New data from the National Safety Council (NSC) found the U.S. traffic fatality rate jumped 23.5% in May, compared to the year prior, despite the number of vehicle miles driven in that month dropping 25.5% amid pandemic-related stay-at-home orders," reports Kristin Musulin. 

NSC President and CEO Lorraine Martin is quoted in the article describing the data as a "public health crisis of significant proportions."

"In response to these estimates, NSC developed a playbook of recommendations and guidance for employers to reference as residents and commuters return to the workplace," according to Musulin.

The continued increase of fatalities per miles driven reported this month by the NSC furthers a trend reported earlier in the pandemic.

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