Car crashes and deaths have steadily increased in Vermont in 2020. This seems surprising – aren’t cars getting safer, roads getting better, and fewer people driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol? All of those things are true, and yet car accidents and fatalities have increased recently.
Vermont is on track to match its most dangerous year for driving, ever.
There have been 61 car crash fatalities in Vermont through from January 1 through December 1of 2020. If we continue at that rate through the end of the year, there will be a total of 67 fatalities on our roads this year. Hopefully, we won’t meet that grim statistic! And yes, even with the increase, we will not exceed this decade’s record of 77 deaths, a sad milestone Vermont reached in 2012. 2019, there were only 40 deaths at the beginning of December in 2019.
What is causing the increase in deaths?
Nobody knows why deaths on our roads seem to be increasing. There is some indication that motorcycle injuries and deaths are rising, which could contribute to that number.
But we do know some of the factors that can increase the chances of a fatality in a car accident. Here are some of the most common.
- Driving unbelted: at least half of the deaths this year can be directly tied to a passenger not wearing a seatbelt.
- Speeding: when drivers speed they shorten the time in which they can react to potentially fatal collisions.
Imparied driving: 50% of all fatalities in Vermont were caused by imparied drivers.
- Distracted driving: much of the distracted driving these days stems from cell phones and electronics in cars. Although cell phone use while driving plays a huge role in many accidents, it’s hard to get an exact statistic because it is hard to prove a driver was using a cell phone right before a crash.
Wouldn’t the pandemic keep people off the roads and cause less crashes?
The COVID 19 pandemic has been keeping the roads quieter and less trafficked, but unfortunately, it has not kept crash fatalities low. Starting April 1st, there were about 50% less drivers on the road than the yearly average. Numbers stayed pretty low during Vermont’s stay at home order, but have been steadily increasing since. It seems that although there are less cars on the road, those that are have been taking more risks while driving. This means people are speeding more, looking at their phones more and not letting a drink or two stop them from getting behind the wheel.
What is the state doing to prevent more fatalities from crashes?
The State of Vermont is working with data collectors to figure out what is causing fatalities and trying to narrow down the demographics that are most impacted by these accidents. They are working with these numbers to provide increased education about safe driving and informational ads that will reach the most impacted groups. If people had reminders to buckle up, not check their phones, follow the speed limit and ensure they were not driving while impaired, fatalities from car crashes might be a fraction of what they are now!
Please stay safe on the roads out there, but if you are injured on the roads call your Vermont injury lawyers at Larson & Gallivan Law, PLC.