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Less traffic, more accidents: New AAA study shows how driving changed during the pandemic

Less traffic, more accidents: New AAA study shows how driving changed during the pandemic

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Less traffic, more accidents: New AAA study shows how driving changed during the pandemic

How to cool down your hot car during summerHere’s a trick to cool down your car quickly on a hot day.USA TODAYMore people started driving much less frequently during the pandemic, opting to stay home instead, a new AAA study reveals. With pandemic restrictions such as non-essential businesses closed and stay-at-home orders in place, the average number of trips for all transportation dropped 40% in April of 2020, the AAA’s 2020 New American Driving Survey found.  For the second half of 2020, daily trips in all transportation categories increased slightly but still remained lower than the 2019 numbers.  On top of that, daily personal car drips dropped a whopping 45%. On the other end of the spectrum, the percentage of people who stayed in the same place all day used to range between 9-14% but hit 26% in April 2020. Like most of the other findings, the percentage normalized a little but stabilized at a higher rate than before the pandemic.  ► Cars: Prices for new, used vehicles are up, with fewer rides under $10K“This data demonstrates what a profound impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on our commute habits and patterns in the United States,” said Adrienne Woodland, AAA spokesperson. The utilization of transit, taxi, and rideshare services also greatly decreased in April 2020. The proportion of people who reported using these services dropped from 5.5% pre-pandemic to 1.7%, and then later rebounded slightly and stayed constant at 2.4%. The pandemic also led to rideshare driver shortages, which in turn means higher wait times and increased fares because the supply of drivers does not meet the recent increase in demand. Many drivers stopped driving during the pandemic, with nowhere to take passengers and the risk of contracting the coronavirus. And now, even with more and more people vaccinated, many of the drivers don’t seem to be coming back, USA Today reported.  The AAA study also found that commuter trips have significantly decreased to about 26% below pre-pandemic rates. Even though many more people were staying home all day, there was an increase in traffic crash fatalities in 2020, the study found.  “It’s counterintuitive to see the rate of traffic deaths spike when so many of us were driving less often,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy. “As the U.S. climbs out of the COVID-19 pandemic, highway safety officials will need to double down on curbing speeding, substance-impaired driving, and failure to buckle up.” More: I-375 construction decimated Detroit’s Black communities. Now activists want repayment.More: Detroit is turning 320 years old: Here’s how to celebrate, trivia to knowJust a month ago, Michigan State Police announced a statewide crackdown on speeding to reduce the ever-increasing number of speed-related crashes.  Similarly, as traffic rates and daily trips start to creep back up in 2021 as pandemic restrictions ease, gas prices are skyrocketing to meet the demand.  Contact Emma Stein at estein@freepress.com.


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