Give them an inch … and they’ll kill us all.
Car drivers are killing people — pedestrians, cyclists, their own passengers, themselves — at a much higher rate this year compared to last, even though total travel is down dramatically because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report shows.
Publicly available data crunched by traffic engineering firm Sam Schwartz reveals that the death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 1.15 for the first six months of this year, up from 1.02 during the same period last year — an increase of 12.7 percent.
“This increase in traffic fatality rates is tragic and unacceptable,” said Richard Retting, the National Practice Leader for Safety and Research at Sam Schwartz, the firm started by the legendary New York City traffic expert (and creator of the term “gridlock”).
Retting noted that total deaths were down 5 percent in the first six months of the year in the 22 states and the District of Columbia that publicly report fatality data — but that number should have been dramatically lower, given that total vehicle miles traveled in those 22 states and the capital city were down 16.6 percent during the same period.