For most of 2020 and the start of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited people’s travel plans and led many employers to implement work-from-home policies. As a result, it is reasonable to expect that there would be less traffic on the roads and fewer car accidents. This has largely been true in Wisconsin, but the past year has also seen some disturbing trends regarding accident severity and fatalities, with many people left wondering how they can recover from serious accidents and injuries during an already difficult time.
Wisconsin Car Accident Trends in 2020
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the state saw fewer total car accidents in 2020 than in 2019, as well as decreases in traffic volume by 25 percent or more in some typically busy areas. While this sounds like good news, it comes with a sobering caveat: the number of fatal car crashes as of November 2020 was a substantial increase over the previous year. The increase is particularly stark among motorcyclists, who experienced a 36 percent increase in fatalities.
Law enforcement officers throughout the state have reported that this increase in fatal accidents could be related to an increase in risky driving behaviors. Some alarming trends that officers have noticed include:
Speeding – Officers report an increase of more than 100 percent in the number of tickets issued for driving over 100 miles per hour from 2019 to 2020, with some of the cases tied to drag racing on major roads.
Distracted driving – The recent trend of driver distraction due to cell phone use and other causes has continued to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impaired driving – During the pandemic, more accident victims have been found to have alcohol and other drugs in their systems.
While it is not clear what exactly is behind this increase in risky driving, officers and traffic researchers have suggested that risk takers may be more likely to travel during this time, and that they may be drawn to the thrill of speeding or racing on emptier roads. Growing mental health challenges may also contribute to distractions or unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse.
Contact an Appleton, WI Car Accident Lawyer
Whatever the reason for the increase in severe accidents, it is clear that Wisconsin residents are still at a significant risk of injury when traveling on the road, perhaps even more so than usual. Risky behaviors like speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving are all examples of negligence that can lead to accidents and injuries. If you have been hurt in a car crash, the Green Bay personal injury attorneys at Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. can help you pursue compensation for injuries and other adverse effects on your life. Contact us today at 920-739-7366 for a free consultation.