As a result of the Covid pandemic, countless Rhode Islander’s continue to work virtually from home, a number of schools are conducting learning online, and many families are choosing to forgo vacation and travel plans and stay close to home for the holidays. These factors have resulted in much less traffic on the roads and highways throughout Rhode Island, particularly during the early weeks and months of the pandemic. Despite drivers in Rhode Islander driving fewer miles, surprisingly the state has seen a “concerning” uptick in traffic fatalities and serious car accidents this year. As a car accident lawyer in Rhode Island for over 20 years, Attorney David Tapalian has seen this surprising influx in motor vehicle collisions and injuries first-hand. The unanticipated rise in auto accidents is unusual considering the decrease in cars on the road.
Car Accident Fatalities So Far This Year
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation reported 45 motor vehicle or motorcycle accident fatalities as of Wednesday, October 29th. Only days after the announcement, three more people were killed in auto crashes on Route 95 on Sunday. In comparison, there were 49 motor vehicle fatalities total in RI last year. In addition, over 200 people have been injured in car accidents so far this year.
Pedestrian accidents have also increased and 16 pedestrians have died in Rhode Island so far this year, compared to 8 pedestrian fatalities in the state in 2019. Specifically, with less drivers on the road, these numbers are disturbing, not to mention puzzling. State officials are attributing the increase in crashes and fatalities to risky driving behavior, another possible side effect of the Coronavirus pandemic. As a Rhode Island Car Accident Attorney, David Tapalian sees a great majority of car crashes and pedestrian accidents caused by negligent drivers including driving under the influence, speeding, and cell phone use.
Pandemic Stress Contributes
Although traffic volume has declined, stress levels remain high for innumerable people throughout the country, largely in part related to the pandemic. To deal with the stress, some are using alcohol and drugs as a destructive coping mechanism. When an intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel, the end result is all to often a serious, or deadly, car accident.
Drivers are also speeding more, possibly due to the temptation of more open roads and less cars and trucks with which to contend. The higher the speed of a vehicle, the lower the chance of a person surviving a crash if hit by the speeding vehicle. Often times, a combination of risky driving behaviors are at fault, for instance, the recent crash on Route 95 that killed three people on November 1st has been attributed to excessive speed and alcohol.
Holiday Season Typically Sees a Rise in Accidents
As the holiday season approaches, it’s an unfortunate reality that the holidays usually bring with them an increase in motor vehicle accidents. As a Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer, David Tapalian is familiar with seeing an influx of clients injured in car accidents throughout the holidays, frequently due to a drunk driver. These types of tragic accidents are completely preventable. This holiday season will be atypical due to the pandemic and therefore it will be even more important to be diligent about road safety whether you are traveling a long distance or staying local. Police in Rhode Island will increase patrols to be on the lookout for impaired drivers and offer the reminders to drivers to always wear a seat belt, motorcycle riders to always wear a safety helmet, don’t drink and drive, and don’t speed. With less daylight this time of year, there are a number of safety precautions both drivers and pedestrians can take to help ensure their safety.
Contact Tapalian Law for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, it’s important to contact an experienced car accident attorney to protect your legal rights. Attorney David Tapalian has helped hundreds of car accident victims in RI and MA seek compensation after they have been hurt by a negligent driver. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical expenses, hospital bills, lost wages, physical therapy, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, and more. Contact the experienced personal injury team at Tapalian Law at our offices in Providence, RI, Warwick, RI, and Seekonk, MA, at 401-552-5000 for a free, no obligations review of your car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, or workers compensation claim. You can also reach us with our easy, online contact form.