The New Normal? Fatal Traffic Accidents in a Post-Pandemic World
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal vehicular crashes in the United States surged in 2021 to an estimated 42,915. That represents a whopping 10.5% increase over 2020 when there were 38,824 fatalities on the nation’s roadways. Here in Indiana, there were 815 fatal crashes that caused a total of 897 deaths.
Of those lives lost, how many were due to impaired driving in the form of DUI or OWI accidents? We’re taking a closer look at the state of Indiana roads-and the drivers who make them so dangerous.
First, Some National Trends
In 2020, there were 11,654 people killed in drunk-driving or impaired-driving accidents. That was a 14% increase from the figures in 2019.
As it did so many aspects of our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our roadways. Initially, when lockdown orders went into effect, the country’s highways and byways were nearly deserted. Yet the number of accidents, including fatal ones, has spiked since then. What gives?
Experts say drivers have exercised much less caution when behind the wheel in 2020 and 2021 compared to previous years. There have been more incidents of impaired driving and other risky behavior, like speeding. It’s likely that plain old distraction is also responsible for many crashes, too, as Americans have collectively experienced some pretty tough times since the pandemic began.
What About Accidents Here In Indiana?
In 2020, there were 850 deaths due to vehicular accidents of all types in Indiana. The final numbers for 2021 aren’t in yet, but the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s Traffic Safety Annual Report estimates that the total death toll will be 914 in 2021.
Traffic accident fatalities involving impaired drivers numbered 154 in 2020 and are expected to top out at 94 once 2021’s statistics are reported. Most OWI-related fatalities in the United States account for around one-third of all people killed in vehicular accidents, and that percentage holds up in Indiana as well.
There’s a common refrain in nearly every report on DUI or OWI accidents and deaths: that these tragedies are preventable. While that’s technically true, the fact remains that people are always going to make mistakes and bad choices. When folks are drunk or under the influence of drugs, that possibility is even greater, given how these intoxicating substances destroy one’s common sense and ability to make smart decisions. In a sense, traffic accidents and deaths seem inevitable.
If you’ve made the poor decision to get behind the wheel after imbibing too much, we can help. There’s no sense in wishing you could go back in time or play “what if” regarding your past behavior. The only thing to do now is to move forward, learn from your error, and go on to live a productive, safe life. Contact the attorneys at Razumich & Associates for a consultation, or call us at 317-449-8661 so we can help you get back on track.