Despite a steep decline in road traffic in 2020 due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, roadway fatalities in Metro Louisville are on pace for an all-time high. According to a report by WDRB, as of the end of July, 62 people have died in Louisville in traffic wrecks in 2020, compared to 49 at the same time in 2019, an increase of 27%.
The increase continues a three-year trend, as roadway deaths in Louisville only numbered 35 at the same time in 2018. Likewise, life-threatening injuries have increased year-to-date from 2019 to 2020, growing from 27 last year to 39 so far this year.
Louisville is not alone in experiencing an increase in roadway fatalities. According to a report from the National Safety Council (NSC), the fatality rate per miles driven in May 2020 jumped a staggering 23.5% compared to the previous year, despite far less traffic on the roads. While the overall number of deaths dropped for most of the country, the proportion of deaths per mile driven across the country has skyrocketed.
It is a paradox—with fewer cars on the roads, why has this year been so deadly? Lorrain Martin, the president of the NSC, believes it is due in part to the decrease in traffic, saying “disturbingly, we have open lanes of traffic and an apparent open season on reckless driving.” In essence, some drivers choose to go faster with less traffic increasing the likelihood of losing control and, if a wreck does occur, their higher speed results in a greater likelihood of death or serious bodily injury.
The NSC advises simple rules to follow to limit deaths on roadways, including (1) obeying the speed limit, (2) being aware of pedestrians and bicyclists, (3) monitoring teens’ driving in your household, and (4) practicing defensive driving techniques like buckling up, getting enough sleep, and avoiding any distractions.
Here at the Poppe Law Firm, we have represented numerous clients for their roadway injuries, as well as grieving family members who lost loved ones in a car, semitruck, or motorcycle accident, securing substantial verdicts and settlements to compensate them for their loss. If you or a loved one have been injured in car, semitruck, or motorcycle wreck, please contact us online on by telephone at 502-895-3400.