Deadly Crashes Went Up In The First 9 Months Of 2020; Speeding Most Likely A Factor

Friday, January 29th 2021, 1:09 pm
By: CBS News

With people working at home, there are fewer drivers on the road, but that hasn't stopped deadly accidents. In fact, they're increasing.

More than 28,000 people died in traffic accidents during the first nine months of 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An increase of 4.6% from the previous year.

"The highways are wide open, uh, local roads are wide open, so I can go at higher rates of speed. You know, there's something to be said for having traffic on the road it does slow people down," Pam Fischer with the Governors Highway Safety Association said.

New crash tests show even moderate increases in speed can be dangerous. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) looked at two similar vehicles, one going 40 miles per hour and the other 56 miles per hour.

At 40 miles per hour the area around the driver mostly stays intact, but at the faster speed the impact is much more severe.

IIHS President David Harkey said there is "a likelihood of brain injury, facial fractures and even lower leg injury."

Harkey said states need to use law enforcement and speed cameras to enforce current speed limits and keep people from driving too fast.

"It's not worth saving a few minutes on a trip and adding that increase in risk of a possible injury," he said.

Harkey said slowing down could help you avoid a crash altogether.