The ongoing health crisis has sparked fundamental changes in the way people live and work in North Carolina and across the United States. Fewer vehicles have been on the road due to remote learning, people working from home, business closures and other safety mandates. That has resulted in surprising statistics for road fatalities in the state. People who have been in a collision or lost a loved one should pay attention to these numbers and accident causes because it can be important when determining how to proceed.
More than 1,500 died on North Carolina roads in 2020
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reports that 1,506 people were killed in 1,491 accidents in the state in 2020. This happened despite a dramatic decrease in miles driven due to the pandemic. In 2019, drivers traveled approximately 123 billion miles; in 2020, it was 99 billion. This accident spike is believed to be due, in part, to drivers failing to focus on driving and behaving in ways they normally would not. In an estimated 25% of the fatal accidents, drivers were thought to have been speeding. Since roads were less congested with fewer vehicles, drivers took that as an opportunity to drive beyond the speed limits. It was the first time in 13 years that road fatalities in the state surpassed 1,500.
Lives can be changed and lost in auto accidents
These statistics are troubling in several ways. There is an element of danger when out on the road in any capacity. People can take part in risky behaviors like distracted driving, reckless driving, driving under the influence, drowsy driving and more. Now, with fewer vehicles on the road, the increase in fatal crashes is stoking concern that drivers are flouting the laws with greater frequency. No matter the reason for the accident, people can face life-changing consequences after an accident. That can include massive medical costs, the inability to work, and having problems returning to some semblance of normalcy. Fatal accidents can leave a family wondering how they will move forward without their loved one. There is much to consider after an accident.
Legal protection may be necessary to decide what to do
Insurance companies will inevitably try to offer a settlement to people who have been hurt or had a loved one die in an auto accident. While the offer may sound reasonable, it is often insufficient when all the losses are calculated. Before accepting the settlement, it is wise to have legal advice. Consulting with a firm that can investigate the circumstances and understands all aspects of a claim can be helpful to recover compensation for what was lost.