Fewer Cars Do Not Mean Safer Roads as Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths Double During Coronovirus Shutdown

Posted by Stacey L. Pietrowicz

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Despite nearly half as many cars on the road, with travel restrictions and a stay-at-home advisory in place, the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities doubled in April 2020, with 28 fatalities reported, including one cyclist and three pedestrians. While earlier this year, an INRIX report ranked Boston the most congested traffic city in the country, with the pandemic shutting down most of the state, current Boston traffic is down by 70% and down by half throughout most of the rest of Massachusetts.   

Speed, which is a common contributing factor to motor vehicle fatalities, is thought to be a heavy contributor to the recent string of accidents, occurring when people are adapting to the wildly different traffic conditions. Massachusetts State Police have seen a surge in speeding drivers, including some cases where drivers were traveling at speeds over 100 mph, resulting in additional patrols and speeding citations. Many drivers are taking reckless advantage of the lack of congestion, speeding through residential streets and highways, creating both local and national problems. In addition to speed concerns, Massachusetts drivers are also adjusting to the hands-free law taking full effect, adapting to the required usage of Bluetooth technology and keeping cellphones out of your hands while driving. 

Despite these concerning statistics, drivers across the country are slated to receive rebates for portions of their insurance premiums, aimed at customers who are unable to travel during government-imposed quarantine restrictions. As reported by Boston Business Journal, MAPFRE Insurance, Arbella Insurance Group and Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp. have recently announced credits between 15% and 25% of premiums and other companies are expected to follow suit as insurance companies receive savings windfalls with fewer claims and reduced driving activity. 

In Massachusetts, drivers are required to have bodily injury liability coverage in the amount of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. What that means is that all Massachusetts drivers, and anyone they injure in an accident, should be protected to at least that amount, which may not be adequate if someone is even moderately injured, and certainly not for catastrophic injuries. Because many drivers only carry minimum coverage, it is important to review your own policy to ensure you are adequately covered for collisions caused by an underinsured vehicle- or worse- an uninsured one. 

Personal injury claims caused by motor vehicle accidents often involve discrete insurance coverage issues and intense factual analysis. SUGARMAN’s dedicated team of personal injury lawyers has decades of experience handling complex claims. If you or someone you know has been injured at the fault of another, speak to a SUGARMAN principal today by calling (617) 542-1000, or email us at info@sugarman.com.