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People are driving less, so why are traffic fatalities rising?

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

New Hampshire has a problem with traffic-related fatalities, and the authorities and government officials aren’t sure how to move things in the opposite direction. 

The issue isn’t endemic to New Hampshire – but New Hampshire did have the third-highest spike in traffic fatalities in the nation, with only Connecticut and Vermont having more alarming statistics. 

What the statistics say about the upward trend in fatal car accidents

Nationally, between 2019 and 2022, there was a sharp dropoff in the number of vehicles on the road, especially as more and more employers embraced full or hybrid remote work arrangements. Yet, traffic-related fatalities actually rose by 18% during that same period. 

Comparing those figures to the figures out of New Hampshire is sobering, however. In this state, there was a 47% increase in traffic-related fatalities between 2019 and 2022. A total of 148 traffic accident victims died in 2022 alone. 

What the authorities say is behind the increase in traffic deaths

Essentially it comes down to the fact that risky drivers – emboldened by the relative lack of traffic they encountered on the roads in the early days of 2020 – started taking even bigger chances out there on the open roads, often causing accidents at high rates of speed. Many of those drivers have never stopped, and high-speed accidents are the most likely to be deadly.

At about the same time, law enforcement agencies began focusing less on traffic violations for other reasons. In many areas, police departments are having trouble filling staffing vacancies, which means they have limited resources and must focus their efforts on other urgent public safety issues, like violent crimes, rather than traffic violations.

In addition, a few highly publicized events that cast the police and traffic stops in a bad light have brought a spotlight on racial profiling and the excessive use of force. Some police departments have actively chosen to shift their priorities away from traffic law enforcement as part of reforms aimed at addressing systemic issues in policing and regaining public trust.

While public officials, lawmakers and communities have tried to mitigate the issues through the use of things like automated red-light cameras, public education and data-driven enforcement in high-traffic areas, the problem remains.

Ultimately, whatever the reasons, it’s increasingly dangerous out there on the roads. If you’re involved in a serious motor vehicle accident with a negligent or reckless driver or your loved one is killed, Solomon Law Firm has decades of experience to help you get the compensation you deserve.