Through the first six months of 2020, when much of the country was under shelter-in-place restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the rate of traffic fatalities jumped 20% from 2019, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Safety Council. 

The estimated increase in the death rate reverses a three-year trend of reduced traffic fatalities, and demonstrates the largest spike in road death rates in more than 20 years. Total miles driven on U.S. roads dropped 17% from January to June, the NSC reported, but traffic deaths per 100 million miles driven during that same time frame jumped 34.4%. Less crowded roads actually made them less safe, ostensibly because drivers could go faster than normal. 

“Because of COVID-19 and states’ shelter-in-place orders earlier this year, the country should have reaped a safety benefit from less traffic,” said Lorraine M….

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