Two people wearing masks next to car accident

Coronavirus And Car Crashes

Robert Edwards
Dec. 16, 2021

What do the 2 have in common? This is from the Los Angeles Times on December 10 of this year. They reported that last year 38,680 people died in car crashes, which was the highest tally since 2007. One of the possible causes of this is that people were "unleashing their pandemic anxieties on wide-open roads" according to some experts, who also predicted that maybe things would get back to normal in 2021. Not to be. Traffic fatalities "increased another 18% in the first 6 months of the year" and now experts are worried that the Coronavirus and the lockdowns have made US drivers more likely to speed, more likely to drive under the influence, more likely to drive without seatbelts, and more likely to be reckless in general. The National Safety Council's Ken Kolosh told the Times that "I fear we've adopted some really unsafe driving habits, and they're going to persist. Our roads are less safe than they were pre-pandemic."

Road rage has also been taken to a new level. Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of the Gov.'s Highway Safety Association raised "the possibility that the disregard shown by drivers for themselves and others was an extension of a national decline in civility that was exacerbated by the pandemic." "Anecdotally, we hear from Governors' offices around the country that it's a symptom and a sign of the overall lack of consideration that we are showing for other citizens, whether it be wearing masks, or not getting vaccinated, or how we drive. It's very aggressive. It's very selfish." Just last week in Phoenix a woman died who had been the victim of a road rage shooting. The Arizona Republic interviewed a woman living near the shooting scene who relayed that the victim of the shooting was in a car behind another car stopped at an intersection at a red light waiting to turn right. This intersection had a "no turn on red light" sign and so the victim, apparently not seeing that sign, became impatient with the car ahead of her and honked her horn and then when they didn't move she pulled around them and made her right turn. This enraged the person stopped at the light who then caught up with the driver who had gone around him and emptied the clip of his pistol into the car, striking the driver, who died about 1 week later in the hospital. Guns and cars mix about as well as guns and alcohol.