Unprecedented times oftentimes lead to unprecedented behavior. People react differently to a crisis, particularly one that costs thousands of lives. Some are more cautious. Others throw that caution to the wind.
COVID-19 cleared roads across the country. Instead of commuting to work, many employees walked to a room in their house, turn on a computer and camera, and start their day. Other people sheltered at home, either by government mandate or by choice, purchasing necessities online and having them delivered.
A Good News-Bad News Scenario
Not surprisingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that vehicles on roads dropped by 26 percent, resulting in a decrease in traffic fatalities to 302, an approximately three percent reduction.
However, different drivers exhibited vastly different behaviors while traversing to and from their destinations. Far too many were reckless. Others were under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The catastrophic confluence rested in a frightening jump of 30 percent nationwide. After a decline last year that saw the lowest death rate since 2014, this year will represent the most fatalities since 2005.
And 2020 is not over yet. More fatalities are likely, and not due to a deadly virus.
Many motor vehicle operators seem to be emboldened by a “new normal,” with wide-open roads and fewer law enforcement officers patrolling. While freewheeling acts can be linked to being shut-in over time, the decision to drive carelessly affects others.