You may find that you are driving fewer miles in 2020 than you did in 2019 or 2018, and you are not alone in changing your habits. Across Tennessee and the rest of the nation, the number of people on the roadways has decreased, but the number of people dying in car crashes is on an upward trend.
What is to blame for the disparity? According to Knox News, traffic fatalities across Tennessee spiked 18% in March of 2020 compared to the year prior, with 373 people dying on state roads by late May of this year. In March, alone, 77 people died on Tennessee’s roadways in comparison to 65 deaths statewide during March of 2020.
Common sense might tell you that fewer drivers mean fewer car wrecks, but statistics show otherwise. Tennessee Highway Patrol representatives attribute much of the increase to two main factors, although there are other contributors, too.
Speed is the first contributing factor, and the second is the high number of motorists and passengers who neglect to wear seat belts. Both actions are dangerous on their own, but when you or someone else speeds and neglects to wear a seat belt at the same time, the results are often catastrophic.
A nationwide trend
The uptick in traffic deaths despite fewer motorists being on the road is noticeable on the national level, too. In March of this year, the number of people driving in the United States decreased by 18.6%. Yet, the number of national road deaths per miles driven rose 14% during this same time.