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Less people were on the roads last year. Between lockdowns, school closures, and more people working from home, traffic dropped dramatically. Yet, the number of peopled killed in automobile accidents rose significantly.  How could this be?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 28,190 people were killed in automobile crashes between June 2020 and September 2020. This is up 4.6% from the same time period last year. NHTSA is still gathering data on last year’s accidents, but they have shared some interesting statistics so far:

Dangerous driving behaviors increased in 2020. Although there were fewer vehicles on the road, many of those who were driving changed their habits and increased their speed. Several large cities saw speeding increase by 22% in 2020 versus 2019. The NHTSA also noted that less people were wearing seat belts.

Drugs and alcohol may have played a role. People sometimes joke about increased use of drugs and alcohol throughout the pandemic. But this is no laughing matter. 65% of the drivers who were treated in hospitals because of severe auto accidents had drugs or alcohol in their system. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, this number was 50.6%.

Deaths rose, fell, then increased again. The early part of 2020 saw a 0.6% increase in deaths from motor vehicle accidents. But when the lockdowns began, this number fell 1.1%. However, from July to September the number of car accident victims increased by 13.1%.

The NHTSA plans to release a full study in the fall of 2021 about this.

Although not part of the NHTSA study, another alarming fact about 2020 is that driving restrictions on 18-wheelers and company vehicles were loosened. Rules for how many hours a truck driver could be on the road were strict. But to accommodate the new ways for shopping and getting supplies, these rules were changed.

Did you know that 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle cases include a large truck?

If you or a loved one are involved in an accident protect yourself by working with an experienced attorney. Whether it’s a major or minor accident, it’s still in your best interest to talk to an attorney. Sometimes it can take weeks or even months to realize the full extent of the damage.

Most injury attorneys will work with you at no upfront cost to you. You only pay if your case is won. Don’t try to negotiate on your own. Get help and fight for the full compensation you deserve.

DeSouza Law Firm is a leading personal injury firm representing accident victims throughout Texas.

If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18-wheeler, company vehicle, or in the oilfield, call DeSouza Injury Lawyers today at 361-799-2222 or visit the firm online at

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