Pandemic Year 2020 Saw An Increase in Highway Fatalities
Has the pandemic been a factor for roadway crashes in the United States? WNEP-TV recently reported a story that shows fatal crashes in 2020 was the highest number since 2007 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA study shows that over 38,000 people died last year in traffic crashes.
One of the thoughts, and I tend to agree, that during the pandemic months, traffic was lighter on highways, and those who were on the roadways may have taken advantage of the open spaces to push the gas pedal a little closer to the floor.
And the WNEP-TV report mentions higher than average fatalities on Interstate 81 and 80 in their Pennsylvania region. That doesn't surprise me. I've driven both roads through and past the Scranton Pennsylvania areas many times, and I've felt like I was in a road race.
Last year when I traveled to Altoona, Pennsylvania to pick up my new Greyhound, I took I-81 from Binghamton through Scranton and Wilkes-Barre to I-80 and then onto I-99 into Altoona, and all three roadways were full of crazy drivers.
One impatient driver couldn't wait for me to get back into the driving lane after passing a truck, so he passed the truck and before I had a chance to move over, he pulled right in front of the truck and passed by me on the right. Good thing I looked at my passenger's side mirror before I moved over, or his little car and life would have been knocked over the railing by my big van.
At the end of this month, I'm planning on heading back to Altoona for a Greyhound reunion, and while it may take me longer, I'm going to use some of the two lane roads in Pennsylvania, avoid I-81 altogether and only deal with the treacherous I-80 for a short time. I don't want to become a statistic at the hands of aggressive, high speed and sometimes idiotic drivers.
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