Pandemic effect: California motor vehicle crashes drop by half

If you drive northeast of Novato for about an hour, you will arrive on the campus of the University of California, Davis. Because of our state’s shelter-in-place order, a drive to Davis is unlikely to be slowed by traffic congestion. We can all see the dramatic effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on society, including significant reductions in the numbers of cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles on our streets and highways.

New data from researchers at UC Davis found that the steep drop-off in traffic has resulted in a 50 percent decrease in motor vehicle crashes since late March.

The halving of traffic accidents means that lives have been spared, serious injuries avoided and money saved for motorists and for the state.

Dramatic drop in crashes

According to UC Davis researchers, since Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the shelter-at-home rules on March 19, motor vehicle wrecks have decreased at a rate that works out to 15,000 per month.

Researchers noted in a statement that they “estimate that since the order went into effect, collisions and especially injury and fatality collisions have been reduced by half.” They added that there are about 1,000 crashes per day, and about 400 crashes each day that include injuries and/or fatalities.  Those figures have dropped to about 500 traffic crashes daily and about 200 wrecks daily with injuries and/or fatalities.

Not everyone is spared

Researchers said that the reductions in crashes has resulted in savings on several fronts: not only incalculable savings in lives spared and serious injuries avoided, but also very real savings of about $40 million per day, which has added up to about $1 billion in savings related to insurance claims, property damage and lost work hours and wages since Newsom’s order went into effect.

Unfortunately, not everyone has been spared. Even though the numbers of crashes are down dramatically, there are still violent collisions taking place that result in injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a negligent driver, contact a Novato attorney experienced in fighting for maximum compensation in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.