COVID-19 Effects: Serious Car Accidents During Pandemic Have Not Fallen in NJ
New Jersey traffic accidents plummeted in March and decreased by another 9% on top of that in April. However, this dip caused by coronavirus stay-at-home measures started to reverse later in the spring. There are a number of reasons why the number of serious car accidents during pandemic has not fallen much since the public health crisis began.
Serious Car Accidents During Pandemic and Fatalities Have Been Increasing in the Summer
Early on during the pandemic, the car accident rate dropped to a historic low as people were forced to stay home during the lockdowns. However, the number of accidents and traffic fatalities have begun to increase in New Jersey back to their historic means. Now, New Jersey roads are as dangerous as ever.
You would think that fewer people on the road would lead to fewer serious car accidents. Perhaps the number of car accidents has declined, but the evidence is showing that the number of serious car accidents has not moved much. There are a number of reasons for this.
Drivers Are Being More Reckless
One of the explanations for the level of serious car accidents is the risky actions of motorists. While traffic is frustrating and has its own risks, it also has the effect of keeping drivers from driving recklessly in some respects. When there are more cars, drivers cannot speed as much and have to take a certain level of care to stay safe. When there are fewer drivers around, there is less to stop a motorist from being reckless. Reports have detailed how driver behavior has actually gotten worse during the pandemic.
At the same time, there have also been fewer police officers on the road enforcing traffic laws. Emergency calls and other assignments have kept law enforcement busy, and they have not been around as much to pull over dangerous drivers. Accordingly, some motorists may feel that they have more freedom to speed since there is less of a fear of being caught. This makes for more dangerous roadways, and it leads to more serious accidents, even if there are fewer cars on the road. All it takes is one reckless driver to cause a severe accident, even if there is no heavy traffic.
There Are More Trucks on the Road with Fewer Regulations
Another factor that has led to serious accidents is the number of trucks on the road. American stores are having trouble keeping supplied during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trucks have had to drive longer shifts under tight deadlines to make their deliveries. Therefore, the mix between cars and trucks on the road is more skewed toward trucks than it used to be. This makes it more dangerous for passenger cars because truck accidents always tend to be serious. Drivers have had to navigate between more trucks as businesses scramble to deliver to customers.
Moreover, the trucks that are on the road are more dangerous to the general public. Federal and state regulators have waived several regulations that are generally there to protect other drivers. For instance, truck drivers are normally restricted in the number of hours that they can drive in a shift so they don’t operate while fatigued. Also, trucks are subject to certain maintenance requirements, and state inspectors would normally perform detailed surprise inspections of trucks. According to personal injury attorneys, both of these requirements have been relaxed during the pandemic. This means there could be more dangerous trucks on the road along with more fatigued drivers.
In other words, while there may be fewer cars on the road, the factors that could lead to serious injuries have either remained the same or increased. This means that there are fewer car accidents. However, if you are involved in a car accident, there is a greater likelihood that you will be seriously injured.
If you have been hurt in a car accident, call a personal injury attorney at the law firm of Rebemack Aronow & Mascolo. You can reach our New Brunswick office at (732) 937-8000, our Somerville office at (908) 448-2560 and our Freehold office at (732) 828-2234.