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California: Back to Normal, Back to Traffic

COVID-19 has brought the challenge to limit human contact worldwide, and California has been no exception. Measures had to be implemented to minimize interaction between people, and thereby reduce the chances of spreading the infection.

What no one expected is that the coronavirus pandemic would have an impact on the number of car accidents that happen daily on California’s state highways and country roads.

According to the study Impact of COVID-19 Mitigation on California Traffic Conditions and Impacts, made by the Road Ecology Center, since the “Shelter-in-Place” alert came into effect, car accidents have been cut in half.

COVID-19 and Accidents

The study results affirm that Governor Gavin Newsom’s order to stay home and temporarily close non-essential businesses had an unexpected effect in reducing traffic accidents, and therefore also in the number of people injured and deceased in these incidents.

The conclusions assure that since the order came into effect on March 19th, the accidents in which people were injured or killed have been cut in half; from 1,000 accidents in general and 400 accidents with injuries per day to 500 and 200 per day, respectively.

Likewise, there was a 40% decrease in the number of traumatic injury accidents reported in hospitals in Sacramento. This reduction was most significant for pedestrians and cyclists, who recorded a nearly 50% reduction in traumatic injuries.

However, this decrease in the number of incidents was not permanent. It is estimated that at the beginning of April, when the southern part of the state experienced heavy rains, there was a brief return to “normal” accident levels.

COVID-19 and Your Finances

The impact of COVID-19 is not limited to a reduction in the number of injuries or deaths from car accidents. The Road Ecology Center estimates that the decrease in the number of incidents has saved $ 40 million dollars per day in all expenses caused by car accidents throughout the state, equivalent to 1 billion dollars since the Shelter-in-Place order is in effect.

The Road Ecology Center took into account the costs of vehicle damage, injury treatments, time lost from work, emergency responses, insurance claims, and living costs.

Traffic in Pandemic Times

The results, collected in real-time, also show that traffic volumes decreased as much as 55% on certain highways, compared to a similar period before Governor Newsom’s order went into effect, which would explain the reduction in the number of accidents on state highways and rural roads.

However, this reduction in traffic volume was not uniform. On some interstates, it only decreased by 30%, with a slight increase in average speeds of 1 to 4 miles per hour, mainly on urban highways.

Now that California has moved to Stage 2 in the Resilience Map of COVID-19 pandemic, retail (delivery and logistics), manufacturing, office workplaces, limited personal services, outdoor museums, child care, and essential businesses can open with modifications. Therefore, the traffic volume will increase the possibility of having an accident.

In case you are involved in an accident,  contact us for a free consultation. At Farahi Law Firm we are specialists in road accidents and personal injuries, we will give you the legal advice you need. We are available 24/7. (844) 824-2955