Covid Virus Car Accidents are Increasing
In a few short months, COVID-19 has turned life in America on its head. Schools are out for the year, shops have closed up, and millions of people are now working from home. Life as America has known it has likely changed forever.
One area that has also changed dramatically is our automobile use. Traffic for many states has dipped to levels not seen in modern times. Highways infamous for eternal traffic jams are now eerily empty, like a scene from some dystopian science fiction movie. Even as restrictions have begun to lighten, overall traffic remains a shadow of its former self. For some reckless drivers, though, the lull in traffic has been a siren song to drive at speeds well over the posted speed limit. A dangerous trend has emerged and police departments across the nation have taken notice.
In early April, a Nampa man was killed in an accident just outside of Wells, Nevada that local police believe was due to distracted driving. The driver was ejected from his vehicle after he drifted across two lanes of traffic and struck the center barrier head-on. Nevada State Highway Patrol identified the man as Matthew Thomas Hawkes and believe he was ejected because he was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision. Despite the quarantine leaving many roads and highways empty, local authorities have seen more and more accidents where drivers are flagrantly skirting speed limits and basic traffic laws meant to protect drivers.
Last month, an Utah Highway Patrol tweeted out a stark reminder that the pandemic is no excuse for being a leadfooted driver. Trooper Corporal Alexander reported having “seen a lot of really high speeds, very egregious speeding violations,” since the Stay Home, Stay Safe directive went into effect in Utah. Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) has posted a number of photos of radar screens showing speeds of over 100 mph. Trooper Alexander also reported the impounding of a Porsche on I-215 after he ticketed the driver for going an astonishing 148 mph. He went on to point out that “modern cars might feel safe at these speeds, until you have to react to an adverse situation…and can’t maintain control…putting other’s lives at risk.” Law enforcement continue to warn the public that speed limits have not changed due to the pandemic, and neither has the number of troopers on patrol enforcing the rules of the road.
Speeding Continues to Kill, Even in a Pandemic
The threat of a ticket from law enforcement isn’t the only reason to obey the speed limit. Excess speed remains one of the leading factors that can turn an accident into a fatality. The U.S. Department of Transportation states that for more than two decades speed remains a contributing factor in 1/3 of all traffic fatalities.
Since the start of the pandemic, California Highway Patrol has reported an 86 percent increase in tickets of drivers exceeding 100 mph compared to last year. Even with fewer drivers on the road, deaths from automobile crashes in Minnesota have doubled since issuing their stay-at-home order. In half of these fatalities, drivers flagrantly ignored the posted speed limit. Speed kills, even during a pandemic.
Sadly, this fact became a salient point for one young Utah driver recently. On an otherwise quiet Saturday afternoon, an Aston Martin sports car, heading eastbound on State Route 201, swerved between surrounding vehicles at a high-speed. Despite nearby signs advising a 50 mph speed limit, witnesses reported that the car was traveling at around 100 mph. The car then clipped a semi near 800 West and spun out into a concrete barrier before hitting another car. The driver of the Aston Martin was ejected from the vehicle due to a torn seat belt and tragically died at the scene of the crash. Photos documenting the devastation to the car are a grim reminder that speed limits save lives.
While the Covid pandemic has certainly emerged as a catalyst of change about how we approach many day-to-day aspects of our lives. The need to drive safely and conscientiously, however, has not changed. As fellow motorists, we literally hold each other’s lives in the palms of our hands. The current lapse in traffic volume will not last forever so, in the meantime, relax and try to enjoy the ride.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, you should know you don’t have to recover alone. The Advocates are ready to fight for your right to win the settlement you deserve according to the law. Having an experienced car accident attorney who specializes in cases like yours can help take the guesswork out of handling your car accident claim. Allow our attorneys to handle the insurance companies and their pushy claims adjusters so you can focus solely on your recovery. An attorney with The Advocates is standing by to discuss the ins and outs of your case today. You can call our office today for a free legal consultation at (208) 995-2444, fill out the form below, or even chat immediately with a live attorney from our homepage. You don’t have to settle for second best. You deserve an Advocate!