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Traffic May Be Down, but Roadway Deaths Are Up in Missouri

Car on highway

During the height of the stay at home order, traffic across Missouri decreased by an estimated 50%. However, even as people stayed indoors for most of April, police were seeing fatal crashes happen in numbers comparable to normal years—when traffic is heavier and accidents more likely. One of the reasons for this seeming imbalance is an increase in speeding.

How Fast Are Drivers Going?

With highways free of traffic, drivers are traveling at excessive speeds. This problem has become so severe that police say they’re pulling over at least 1 person each day for exceeding 100 mph. The fastest driver they’ve caught was traveling 145 mph. This is twice the speed limit, and such an obvious act of recklessness can be harmful to others.

Anyone traveling at this speed has no time to react to an obstacle or unexpected event, much less stop in a reasonable distance. High-speed accidents are likely to result in catastrophic injury or even death for one or both parties involved. Meanwhile, dangerous speeders are being ticketed and summoned to court because it would be dangerous to bring them (and potentially the novel coronavirus) into jails.

We’re all facing new challenges and stresses due to the novel coronavirus, but anyone engaging in such activities is endangering those in their community. Especially during a time when we want to keep emergency rooms empty so COVID-19 patients are able to receive the treatment they need, risking a serious accident by speeding counteracts the other sacrifices we are making. For most drivers, all we can do is watch our own behavior and be even more defensive than usual in case we encounter an out-of-control car. Pandemic or no, road safety should be a priority for everyone.

Illegal Behaviors Increasing All Around

While the excessive speeders are taking advantage of empty highways, in-town drivers have also been letting down their guard. A nationwide study by Teletrac, which monitors driver performance, found that between mid-March and mid-April:

  • Driving over the speed limit, when calculated by total mileage, has increased 17%
  • Harsh cornering events have increased 15%
  • The number of stop signs that are run has increased 10%

It’s hard to say exactly why this is happening. Drivers could simply be ignoring rules because they don’t expect anyone will see or catch them. Or, it could be due to increasing rates of driver cell phone use. Since the pandemic began, we’ve been using our devices to stay up to date with the news and contact those we can no longer visit in-person. Though the need to stay connected has increased as we’ve been isolated from our normal communities, it’s no excuse to use our phones while driving. There are still enough people on the road that this type of carelessness can cause serious injuries.

More Dangers for Pedestrians

Another widespread shift caused by the pandemic is an increase in pedestrian traffic. Going on walks has become a way for people to escape their homes for a moment; some people are also going to the grocery store or pharmacy on foot. Unfortunately, it is pedestrians who may be in the most danger from distracted and careless drivers. A car that blows through a stop sign or loses control while rounding a corner can injure a pedestrian who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Speed also matters: While a pedestrian is highly unlikely to be in the same place as someone traveling over 100 mph, even going 10 or 20 mph over the speed limit drastically increases the possibility of pedestrian fatalities in an accident. Therefore, if you’re out for a walk, we recommend you forgo headphones and keep pets and/or children close for safety’s sake.

If You’ve Been Injured, You Should Seek Help

Even with lighter traffic, the numbers show that car accidents are still happening—which means each day someone else is injured by a negligent driver. Especially among those who think the accident was “not that bad,” it may seem prudent to skip the trip to the doctor to avoid stressing healthcare resources. We are here to tell you it’s important to follow up with your healthcare provider and a lawyer after any accident. If another person’s bad choices caused any injury to you, you deserve compensation. And, just because you can’t feel an injury at the scene of the crash doesn’t mean you’re okay. Some aches and pains wait a few days or even a week to show up.

Especially in a time of such uncertainty, it’s important to do everything you can to protect yourself. You have the right to compensation for all damages that resulted from an accident. Insurers aren’t keen to pay you any more than they have to, but an attorney can help you calculate how much your settlement is worth and apply pressure on an adjuster who doesn’t want to pay.

Get the help you need after an accident: Call our team now at (800) 391-4318 to file your claim, or contact us online. For your safety and convenience, we are currently offering consultations via phone, email, and video conferencing.

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