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Has COVID-19 Made America’s Roads Safer? No, Says Research

It is no secret that the global COVID-19 pandemic has changed our way of life in the United States. The same is true for people around the world. In America, however, many children are home from school while adults are working remotely from their homes. Many people have significantly reduced their visits to see friends and family as well as attending events. During this confusing and disruptive time, many are just trying to do their best. 

Despite the challenges and losses, many are trying to look at the bright side. Some silver linings include less pollution, more time with loved ones, and safer streets. The assumption that fewer cars on the road mean less accidents is not necessarily accurate. 

Accidents Still Happening 

While it is true that there are fewer vehicles and drivers on America’s roads since the global shutdown in 2020 and the slow reopening of cities across the country, the risks of those who are on the road have changed, as well. According to research, there were 284 traffic-related deaths in Nevada in 2019 the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. For reference, these numbers were slightly lower than the prior year, when 330 traffic-related fatalities were recorded in the state in 2018. Pre-pandemic, the data showed that traffic-related deaths were on the rise in the United States with 14 deaths in the first two months of 2020. By July, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) had recorded 54 traffic-related fatalities

According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s (NDPS) Zero Fatalities Initiative, which conducts research on and surveys drivers in the state:

  • One in five drivers in Nevada admit to running a red light in the last 10 intersections they have driven through;
  • 30% of traffic fatalities in Nevada were related to intoxication by one or more parties involved;
  • Distracted driving took the lives of nearly 3,500 people in 2016.

While fewer vehicles on the road means that there are fewer traffic rule violators, distracted drivers, and drivers under the influence, there are new risks that have emerged from the pandemic.

Pandemic Drivers

The emptier streets across the nation have prompted drivers to be more reckless. Indeed, state highway officials have noticed a significant increase in speeding vehicles across the United States, with some drivers reaching speeds above 100 mph. Unfortunately, Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada have not been immune to this dangerous trend. Recently, Las Vegas law enforcement officers stopped half a dozen vehicles in the city because the drivers had their cars speed in the triple digits. 

The results of extreme speed is serious injuries at best and multiple deaths at worst. These tragedies occur even with fewer drivers on Nevada’s roads. This is because even if there are fewer traffic-related crashes due to a less populated roadway, the collisions that do happen are likely more deadly because of reckless and speeding drivers. And, with an already overwhelmed hospital system across our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an uptick in traffic-related injuries can create additional burden on our healthcare system. 

Next Steps After a Crash


If you were hurt in a Nevada car accident, first seek medical attention. Then contact the skilled personal injury lawyers at H&P Law. Our attorneys will fight for the monetary compensation you deserve.

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