Why did car crashing soared in the U.S. during the Pandemic?


Experts were taken aback by the figure: 38,680 people died on American roads last year, the highest number since 2007, despite the fact that pandemic measures had significantly cut driving.

"This was entirely unique," said Ken Kolosh, a researcher with the National Safety Council, a non-profit organization. "We had no idea what was going on.

One theory is that stressed-out Americans were venting their frustrations on the open highways. He predicted that when traffic resumed in 2021, fatal accidents would decrease.

He was mistaken. According to the most recent evidence, the pandemic has made U.S. drivers more reckless — more likely to speed, drink or use drugs, and leave their seat belts unbuckled — despite decades of safety gains.

"I'm afraid we've developed some extremely dangerous driving habits, and I'm afraid they're going to stick," Kolosh added. "Our highways are less safe than they were before the outbreak."

According to experts, this driving habit is most likely a manifestation of widespread emotions of isolation, loneliness, and sadness.

"We could decide: What difference does a seat belt or another beer make while we're in the thick of a pandemic?" Shannon Frattaroli, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, echoed this sentiment.

The spike in motor vehicle mortality corresponds to other pandemic-era trends: alcohol sales have skyrocketed, drug overdoses have hit new highs, and homicides have experienced their highest increase on record.

COVID-19 represents a "sea shift in psychology," according to Frank Farley, a psychology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, who sees reckless driving as a type of revolt, or "arousal breakout."

"You've been caged up, locked down, and subjected to constraints you despise," he explained. "So, if you get the opportunity to have an arousal breakout, you should grab it."

Prior to the epidemic, road safety in the United States had been improving for decades, owing to the implementation of seat belt legislation and the introduction of airbags, enhanced braking and stability control, and other safety features.

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