This time last year, there were numerous reports about how there were fewer auto accidents because more Americans were staying home due to the pandemic. Many people worked from home, and many Americans were ordered to stay home. In addition, those who were exposed to COVID-19 had to spend time in quarantine for 14 days.
Various COVID-19 vaccinations rolled out in 2021 have been reopening the national economy. As more and more people receive their first and second doses, they are willing to return to work, take vacations, and spend time with their families, which translates into more vehicles on the road.
According to Jalopnik, car insurers offered discounts in 2020 because drivers were not operating their cars. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is anticipating that car insurance companies’ second-quarter results will be a strong indicator of how much people are driving and how many accidents in which they may be involved.
The WSJ stated that the net income for a leading car insurer, Travelers Cos., for the second quarter of 2021 was $934 million – a marked difference from the $40 million net loss the company showed a year ago. Progressive Corp announced a 47% increase in accident volume from a year ago and an 8% increase in claims. Progressive expects the accident frequency data for 2021 to continue to rise through 2021 as the mileage vehicles drive increases.
Another indication that more drivers are on the road and that they are driving more miles is gasoline consumption, reported the WSJ. The second-quarter statistics for 2021 were 96% of the second quarter for 2019, the year before the pandemic started. In the last week of the quarter, gasoline consumption was higher than in the comparable 2019 timeframe.
The frequency of auto accidents does appear to be below pre-pandemic levels by a small amount. This is partially explained by many workers avoiding rush hour crashes because they are still telecommuting.
Drawing conclusions about accidents from car insurance and other data does require continual analysis. While drivers drove less in 2020, the value of the claims has been higher. The WSJ thinks this may be because there are far fewer fender-bender accidents. Since there are fewer drivers on the road, drivers are going faster and taking more chances – which leads to more serious injuries and property damage.
The cost of repairs has also risen, in part because more people are driving used cars, which are priced proportionally higher than in prior years due to car manufacturing problems related to the pandemic.
Fatal car accidents rose in 2020
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatalities rose in 2020, even though many drivers stayed home due to the pandemic. Early estimates show that 38,680 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 – the largest projected death count since 2007. The number is a 7.2% increase over 2019.
Preliminary statistics from the Federal Highway Administration show that the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) was about 13.2% less in 2020 than in 2019. The rate of fatal vehicle crashes for 2020 was 1.37 deaths per 100 million VMT – a more than 20% increase from 2019. The main reasons for this increase in vehicle fatalities, according to the NHTSA are:
- Speeding drivers
- Failure to wear a seat belt
- Driving while impaired
The fatality estimates for 2020 as compared to 2019 are:
- Drivers and passengers: 23,395; a 5% increase
- Pedestrian deaths: 6,205; about the same as for 2019
- Motorcyclists: 5,015; a 9% increase over 2019
- Bicyclists: 846; a 5% increase over 2019
Our track record of success in car accident cases
The lawyers at Harris Lowry Manton LLP have a strong track record of success representing drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicycle riders in car accident cases. Some of our significant results include:
- $40 million. A Georgia police chief was awarded $35 million and his wife was awarded $5 million by a jury against a driver whose pickup truck hit the police chief’s vehicle head-on. The defendant was under the influence of several drugs at the time of the collision. The police chief was assisting another driver whose car was on the side of the road. The lights of his car were flashing. The officer is permanently disabled and must use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
- $21 million. This settlement involved a commercial vehicle fire, resulting in multiple burn fatalities.
- $8 million. This settlement was for a car accident which caused catastrophic injuries.
- $6.4 million. We filed a wrongful death action for the family of a decedent killed in a car accident.
Harris Lowry Manton LLP are experienced Atlanta and Savannah car accident lawyers representing victims and the families of loved ones killed in head-on crashes, broadside collisions, intersection accidents, sideswipes, rear-end collisions, multi-vehicle accidents, and single-car crashes.
Our lawyers file claims against drivers, owners, manufacturers, and other responsible defendants. We demand compensation for all your pain and suffering, medical bills, income loss, and property damage from all responsible parties. We will guide you through each step of the personal injury claim process.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.