WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY — March 25, 2021 — The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global health crisis, affecting the entire planet and changing life as we know it. The virus has claimed a huge number of lives across the world, as well as triggering the closure of entire countries, the halting of economies, and the development of strict new lockdown laws and quarantine systems to try and control the spread and save as many lives as possible.
It’s been a big adjustment for the general public to leave their previous way of life behind and adapt to this new world of wearing masks, keeping their distance from others, working from home in many cases, and being unable to engage in the usual social activities they know and love.
The development and increasingly widespread usage of new vaccines are helping to provide hope to the world that the end of this crisis is in sight, but it’s clear to see that the coronavirus has changed our world, and it may take a long time until things ever get back to normal. Even on the roads and highways of America, evidence of COVID-19’s impact can be seen, and the statistics regarding accidents, crashes, fatalities, and DUIs make for interesting reading.
The Changing Landscape of America’s Roads
When we look at some of the statistics regarding traffic, auto accidents, and DUIs across America in 2020 and compare those figures to previous years, we can get an idea of how COVID-19 has truly changed the landscape of America’s roads in more ways than one, and some of the data has been rather worrying.
For instance, reports show that the number of people speeding during lockdown periods has been higher, on average, than pre-COVID times. What’s more, even though the overall accident and fatality numbers are down, the actual rate of auto accidents and fatalities on the roads have increased in terms of how many accidents and deaths are happening in relation to the number of vehicles on the roads.
Naturally, during the lockdown, with people being told to stay home, there are fewer cars and vehicles on the roads. However, the data shows that drivers have had a higher-than-usual chance of getting into accidents, and the explanation behind this may be that because the roads are less busy, drivers feel more confident in breaking the rules, exceeding the speed limit, and paying less attention to road signs.
When we take a look at DUI charges and cases, the statistics are a little more encouraging. During the COVID-19 pandemic, data shows that there have been significant reductions in the number of DUI stops and arrests. In some states, figures have dropped massively, with less than 10% of the usual amount of DUI charges taking place.
We can take a look at examples from some different states to illustrate this point. In Minnesota, for example, reports show that DUI rates have dropped 70% in 2020 compared to the figures from 2019. New York, too, which is a state that tends to see a lot of DUI charges and high auto accident rates, has seen big drops of DUI arrests and charges, with 60% reductions recorded in NYC itself.
Explaining the Trend
One of the obvious explanations for this decline in DUIs is the fact that many bars, restaurants, and other locations where people might usually consume alcoholic beverages before drinking have been forced to close down during the quarantine and lockdown periods.
This means that people have less easy access to alcohol and are obviously not going out as much with friends and families to drink at the weekends and in the evenings in general.
With fewer cars on the roads and fewer people actually getting drunk and driving, it’s only natural that DUI rates have tended to decrease during COVID-19, although some states, like Florida, for example, have actually shown increases in DUIs, suggesting that this trend is not a nationwide certainty.
In any case, this trend represents one of the few silver linings of the COVID-19 cloud, but it’s highly likely that when restrictions begin to lift after vaccinations and places like bars and restaurants open up once more, rates will start to rise again.
The traffic and road crime figures for the COVID-19 pandemic provide interesting reading, and experts will be standing by to watch and analyze how these figures start to change as the nation emerges from lockdown and begins to resume a more ‘normal’ way of life.