During the ongoing health crisis, lives have been changed markedly in North Carolina and across the United States. In addition to what people have faced in their personal and professional lives, the overall landscape has been altered in other ways with the roads more dangerous. Statistically and anecdotally, people are driving more recklessly, speeding, driving distracted, and driving while under the influence. This is believed to have sparked a rise in fatal auto accidents. After a collision, those who were affected should be aware of their options.
Lesser accidents but higher fatalities
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reports that there were fewer auto accidents in the state in 2020, but those accidents were deadlier. The number of crashes reduced by 15% while the number of deaths in auto accidents rose by 11% when compared with 2019. Overall traffic across the U.S. was down 41% vs. what it was before the pandemic started.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) did a study of fatal accidents from March through July 2020. It found that almost 65% of those who suffered serious injuries or died in a crash had a minimum of one intoxicating substance in their system. In the prior six months, that was true in less than 51% of these accidents. A follow-up study looking at July to September said 61.6% of drivers had alcohol or drugs in their system. Drivers are also speeding with greater frequency and driving while distracted.
All these factors have combined to raise the death total in auto accidents for the year. Through September, there were nearly 28,200 fatal accidents in the nation. During that time in 2019, there were more than 26,900. The summer was especially deadly with a 13.1% increase in 2020. Government agencies and law enforcement are encouraging drivers to shun distractions, avoid drinking and using drugs before driving, and to adhere to the speed limit.
Having professional advice can be key after an auto accident
People who have been hurt or lost a loved one in an auto accident will be confronted with a litany of challenges. Brain trauma, spinal cord damage, paralysis, neck injuries, broken bones, lost limbs, internal injuries and scarring can result. Treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare can be exorbitantly expensive. A fatality will lead to funeral costs and the emotional, personal and financial problems that accompany an untimely death. It can be difficult to think about, but having legal advice might be crucial to take the necessary steps to recover compensation for all that was lost. A firm with extensive experience in investigating auto accidents with catastrophic injuries and death can help with accruing evidence and moving forward with a claim.