Before the COVID-19, only six percent of the American workforce was telecommuting. A few months into the pandemic, almost 50 million Americans were telecommuting, representing 35 percent of the American workforce.
With so many people telecommuting, America had fewer cars on the road in 2020 than in 2019. Fewer cars on the road should have meant fewer traffic accidents and deaths, but that was not the case.
According to NTHSA statistics, there were over 38,600 reported fatalities on American roads in 2020, higher than pre-pandemic fatalities that stood at 36,096 in 2019, the highest since 2007.
Car Accident Causes and Increase Deaths
In June 2021, the NHTSA released a report providing insights into the accidents that can be used to figure out the cause of the increased deaths, despite very few people being on the road. According to the reports, there was a nine percent increase in alcohol-related fatalities and a 15 percent increase in unrestrained fatalities. The report also showed that these fatalities were more prevalent in the 16 to 44-year-old bracket.
No one can say with certainty the cause of the rise in deaths. However, experts believe that most people let their guard down due to the lure of open roadways and drove faster. Still, others presume the anxiety and the frustrations that came with COVID-19 may have led many to seek solace with alcohol, which often ends in tragedy when mixed with driving.
According to a study conducted by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 60 percent of respondents admitted to having drank more during the lockdowns.
Drunk driving and unrestrained commuters were not the only causes of accidents in 2020 though. Other circumstances include distracted driving, aggressive driving, and vehicle malfunction.
More than Statistics
These numbers may feel like statistics, but they mean a lost breadwinner, husband, wife, or child to the affected victims’ families. While there is no way of undoing the damages caused, these families can seek legal recourse by filing for compensation for their damages. “Hiring a skilled lawyer for your personal injury case will increase your chances of recovering fair compensation,” says Pennsylvania-based attorney Rich Godshall of Ostroff Injury Law.
Pennsylvania Insurance Requirements and Laws
Every driver in Pennsylvania is supposed to carry a minimum of $5,000 as personal injury to cover $15,000/$30,000 bodily injury liability. Also, a driver is required to carry property damage coverage with the minimum level being $5,000. However, a vehicle owner is not restricted to these figures. They may choose to pay for higher insurance plans.
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state. In other words, motorists involved in an accident will seek compensation from their insurer no matter who was at fault. However, it is possible to sue the at-fault party for damages if they exceed your insurer’s limit. The no-fault plan is voluntary, meaning you can choose to opt-out. That makes evidence collection very important when involved in an accident.
Also, make sure you do not admit fault even if it is obvious. That is perhaps because liability may sometimes fall on a third party. For example, a faulty vehicles part manufacturer or a drinking establishment that served drinks to a patron who later caused an accident may be held liable.