Empty US roads deadliest in coronavirus pandemic, report finds

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A woman takes a photo in Times Square in New York. File photo

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The number of miles flown in the United States in March fell by more than 18%


US roads have become more deadly even though Americans are driving less due to coronavirus quarantine and stay at home orders, a new report found.

The first data indicate an annual increase of 14% in mortality rates per distance traveled in March, indicates the document of the National Safety Council (NSC).

The number of miles flown during the month fell by more than 18%.

However, the total number of road fatalities in the United States in March decreased 8% to 2,690.

So far, the number of deaths for the current year has risen to 8,460.

Speeding – key factor

The kilometric mortality rate for 100 million vehicle-kilometers traveled was 1.22 in March compared to 1.07 in March 2019, according to the NSC report.

“It is troubling that we have open lanes and an apparent open season on reckless driving,” said NSC President Lorraine M Martin.

“Right now, in the midst of a global pandemic and crisis, we must consider it our civic duty to drive safely.

“If we don’t do it for ourselves, we should do it for our first responders, our law enforcement and our healthcare workers, who rightly focus on coronavirus patients and shouldn’t be overwhelmed by preventable car accidents, “said Ms. Martin.

The data suggests that increased speed was one of the key factors behind the alarming increase in the death rate, said the NSC.

He also said that relaxing the driver’s license requirements for teens in some states could have been a contributing factor.

The NSC – a nonprofit organization approved by the United States Congress – has a death like anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident: drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

The estimated cost of death, injury and damage to motor vehicles in March was $ 95.4 billion (£ 78 billion), according to the report.

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