Traditionally, economic challenges that lead to increased unemployment mean fewer drivers traveling to their respective workplaces. Reduced congestion is a welcome sight for those who remain employed or just want to get to their respective destinations in a reasonable amount of time.
However, the previous year was anything but traditional. A pandemic took common assumptions about traveling on more open roads and turned them upside down. More room on the New York City streets and roads created the proverbial need for speed.
Even late-night drag racing made a comeback, replacing other forms of entertainment shuttered due to a worldwide health crisis.
Dangerous driving habits result in record deaths
In 2020, nearly 250 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents throughout New York City, with late-night speeding as the most common denominator. The tragic statistic represents the highest number of deaths since implementing the “Vision Zero” program safety plan by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014. The goal was to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024.
To date, the initiative failed to achieve those objectives and likely won’t in the coming months of 2021.
Traffic violations documented by automated cameras in New York City nearly doubled on a daily basis. Citations in Brooklyn and Queens jumped to more than 80 percent. Nationwide, the number of speeding tickets reached unprecedented numbers.
New York is not alone in traffic fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that deaths have increased for the first time nationally in many years. The early months of the pandemic – specifically April and June – saw fatal collisions increase nearly 30 percent more than the first three months of 2020.
Even motorcyclists who rediscovered their passion for riding also took to the roads. However, many lacked recent or any experience and operating without valid licenses, resulting in a record number of fatal crashes.
With seemingly everything in 2020, plans in response to certain behaviors remain works in progress. However, life returning to a sense of normalcy will still see negligent and reckless driving habits that both change and end lives.