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Think the Pandemic Would Lead to Fewer Fatalities in Vehicle Crashes? Better Think Again

Neil T. O’Donnell

Last week, the National Safety Council issued a report concerning Americans driving during the pandemic. And, despite the fact that Americans drove fewer miles, the preliminary data shows 42,060 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year —including pedestrians — which was up 8% from 2019.

That’s right — motor vehicle crashes killed nearly 3,000 more people in 2020 than the year before, despite the pandemic. How can that be? Fewer miles, fewer drivers, less commercial activity. . . and more deaths?

The Safety Council estimated that miles driven in the United States dropped 13% last year. But fatalities increased by nearly 3,000.

“We saw this uptick here in people driving at higher speeds and it had the tragic consequences we are now seeing here in the data”, said David Harkey, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Bottom line: Speed kills.

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