Between May 15th and May 18th, the Maryland State police pulled over almost 500 drivers for traffic infractions. A worrisome number of these traffic stops have been related to speeding: So much so that state troopers have been temporarily reassigned to enforcement in high-risk areas.
The trend isn’t unique to Maryland. Law enforcement across the U.S. have been pulling over more drivers for going too fast—sometimes much too fast. Reckless drivers have been acting in ways most people wouldn’t even imagine during normal times. One traffic stop in Maryland involved an impaired driver who was traveling over 100 miles per hour on the Capital Beltway. The same day, Maryland State Troopers found 12 other drivers traveling at 80 mph or above in the same area.
Theories behind the increase in speeding range from the freedom of empty roads to a psychological need for escape that can only be fulfilled in the car. One thing is certain: No matter the reason, speeding drivers are putting the rest of us in danger.
Is “Pandemic Driving” Making Our Roadways Less Safe?
Car crashes have decreased overall, but not by as much as they should have, suggests data from INRIX. Because there are fewer drivers on the road, there are fewer accidents. However, the company, which focuses on transportation, notes that while traffic has dropped 41% since the pandemic was declared, accidents have only dropped by 21% nationwide. Maryland trends are similar. Accident reports filed by the Maryland State Police, though an incomplete data source, show a 50% decrease in traffic but only a 24% decrease in fatalities. At the same time, the percentage of crashes caused by excessive speed has increased.
Speeding isn’t just a danger because it puts a driver at risk of losing control. Of course, that is always a worry. But, especially at a time when we are doing our best to reduce the burden on emergency rooms, speeding is counterproductive. High speeds make crashes much more dangerous. At a time when more Marylanders are walking and biking around their neighborhoods, this rulebreaking can be deadly. A pedestrian hit by a car traveling 25 mph has a 90% chance of survival. When the car is going 40 mph, the victim’s chance of survival is only 35%.
Another Factor: Driver Distraction
We all know it’s dangerous to use our phones while driving. Thanks to an increase in laws (and enforcement) targeting drivers who use their phones, the rates of this particular distraction have started to drop over the past few years. The pandemic seems to have erased these gains. Zendrive, a technology firm that collects live data from drivers, has noted a 38% increase in mobile phone use among their userbase. Stuck inside, Americans have been reading more news and spending more time on social media. This trend may be following us to the driver’s seat.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident
It’s especially worrisome to see this increase in driver distraction co-occurring with the increase in speeding. Alone, either make a driver more likely to cause an accident. Together, these behaviors can cause devastating accidents.
Those who have fallen victims to unsafe pandemic drivers likely need support but may not know where to turn. Especially if you are facing other stresses related to the novel coronavirus, you do not have to go through this alone. Our team is here to help you find justice.
Accident victims have the right to pursue compensation for damages including lost wages, medical expenses, and more. However, if an insurer can argue you were even 1% at fault for the accident, they may refuse to cover anything. To fight such allegations, you need a legal team to investigate the accident—because you can be sure the insurer will be doing the same.
Our lawyers have filed and negotiated insurance claims for many people in your situation. During this time, you should be able to focus on your recovery—and trust our experience to maximize your outcome.
During the novel coronavirus pandemic, our team is operating remotely and providing consultations through phone, email, and videoconferencing.
Were you injured by a negligent driver? Make sure you have a capable legal team on your case. Call Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC at (301) 812-4777 or send a message to start your case in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, D.C.