Whether you’ve stayed home for the majority of the COVID-19 global pandemic or ventured out safely, the world has changed significantly in New Hampshire since social distancing and stay at home orders were put into place in early 2020. A particularly interesting change, however, has been in traffic safety and car accidents during the pandemic. Although it may make sense to assume that fewer people on the roads means safer roads for everyone, some risky behaviors have actually increased as the pandemic has continued.
Based on a special report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) covering traffic safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, significant changes took place in traffic patterns over the course of 2020. Although driving patterns appeared to slow down in terms of congestion and traffic in the first part of the year because of the initial onset of the pandemic, things seemed to pick back up during the second and latter parts of the year.
During the second quarter of the year, for example, the report noted an increase in sales and consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Compared to 2019 data, retail sales were 19.5 percent higher in July, 21.5 percent higher in August, and 20.6 percent higher in September in 2020. Similarly, in addition to alcohol, cannabinoid, and opioid type drugs all increased in prevalence during the second quarter of the year as compared to the months before the emergence of the public health emergency. In the third quarter of the year, the prevalence of all of these substances remained high compared to the months before COVID-19.
According to the NHTSA report, risky traffic behaviors involving alcohol and other drugs observed in the second quarter of the year appeared to continue into the third. Although there were fewer trips taken in terms of frequency overall in 2020 as compared to 2019, a significant percentage of serious and fatal injuries from drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs remained. For example, from July to September 2020, more than 29 percent of those seriously or fatally injured had measurable alcohol in their systems, with more than 26 percent testing positive for marijuana-related substances and over 13 percent for opioids. These trends, NHTSA contends, are consistent with data showing increases in alcohol and marijuana sales and consumption after the advent of the public health emergency.
In these trying times, physical health and safety extend beyond simply maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask. An increased prevalence of alcohol and drugs on the roads should indicate to any driver that exercising the utmost precautions is especially crucial during this period. The last thing anyone needs during a global pandemic, after all, is a serious injury or fatality that could make this difficult time even more challenging than it already is.
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If you or someone you love has been recently injured in a New Hampshire car accident, contact the attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates. Our lawyers have years of experience representing all kinds of personal injury clients and will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 800-804-2004. You can also reach us through our online form.