Less Cars, Safer Streets?

Sonoma County roads just keep getting more crowded. And more crowded means more accidents.

Until, suddenly, it all stopped. Or at least slowed way down.

Stay-at-home orders have reduced California traffic by about 60% and have created about a 50% drop in accidents.

With only workers in fields deemed critical and those going out for food and other essential goods and services on the road, it is predictable that there are fewer collisions. With restaurants and bars closed, there are also fewer drunk drivers.

Less Than Half the Accidents

Less Car Safer Streets

The average number of collisions each day in California before shelter-in-place was 1,116. Since then, there have been about 500 per day. Similarly, accidents with fatalities and injuries dropped from 562 to 274.

There may be an interesting reason why accidents have not declined by 60%, the amount equal to the reduction in road usage. Many drivers, with roads wide open, are speeding up. New York’s speed cameras have been issuing the same number of tickets each day despite the plunge. Minnesota’s state police have reported an increase in speeding, especially extreme speeding—drivers exceeding 100 mph.

Unknown Outcomes

We just don’t know the economic and health impacts of this global pandemic. We also don’t yet know the outcomes for society, and this includes traffic accidents.

The National Center for Sustainable Transportation and the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis have requested funding to support research aimed at looking more deeply into the negative and positive societal impacts of the Novel Coronavirus.

“As the shelter in place order extends over months,” said Fraser Shilling, co-director of the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis in a recent Press Democrat article, “we hope to answer pressing questions such as this one: What are the cost-savings and other social benefits from reduced injuries and deaths on state highways due to COVID-19?”

Unfortunately, fewer cars and decreased traffic do not translate into zero accidents. If you find yourself in need of autobody repair, we are considered an essential service and are here for you. As always, we’ll give you top-quality workmanship and customer service and help you navigate insurance challenges. Contact Cline Collision Center online or call 707-591-9909 today!