COVID-19 Quarantine Reduces Road Accidents but Threatens State Budgets
When state and local governments started imposing stay-at-home rules and other restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of everyday American life changed. Schools, businesses and even churches have been closed. Consequently, traffic on roads throughout the country has been very light as the weekday commute for millions of people now just involves walking from one room to another or flipping on a laptop.
Since March, measures taken to check the spread of the coronavirus have had several effects on automobile transportation around the country, including:
- Fewer accidents —Individual car use has plummeted. For the week of April 10, New York City personal automobile travel was 63 percent lower than in the pre-pandemic period. This trend has extended across the country, leading to a sharp decline in the number of road deaths nationwide.
- Auto insurance rebates — Fewer accidents means fewer accident claims and higher profits for auto insurance companies. Many carriers have responded by giving rebates to their policyholders. For example, State Farm announced that it would issue credits to insureds totaling $2 billion.
- Fall off in state revenue — Living under quarantine means it takes a lot longer to empty your gas tank. This might be good for your wallet, but states depend on revenue from gasoline taxes to keep roads in good repair. Other state income sources have also been hit, such as tolls and motor vehicle sales taxes. State transportation officials have requested substantial funding to make up for the shortfall, but with so many competing priorities, budget cuts will likely need to be made.
Though the roads are emptier, dangerous driving still goes on. In fact, some motorists have taken advantage of the light traffic by traveling well above the speed limit. This may be the reason that pedestrian injuries and road deaths have not dropped in sync with the decline in overall miles traveled within the five boroughs. If you’ve been injured in a collision, an experienced auto accident lawyer can explain your legal options and help you to pursue appropriate compensation.
Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson represents New York City clients in auto accident litigation, including matters involving bus, taxi, truck and pedestrian accidents. Please call 888.746.8212 or contact us online for a free consultation if you’ve been injured in a crash.