Over the past few months of shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, there have been a lot fewer cars on the road here in Oklahoma and even worldwide. Usually, fewer cars on the road means fewer accidents and fewer fatalities. However, researchers have found some alarming data that suggests that, while the overall number of accidents declined over the past few months, those accidents that did happen were much deadlier than usual.

Researchers for the Reuters new service looked at major population centers in the United States and found an alarming jump in the ratio of fatal accidents to all motor vehicle collisions this past spring. In New York City, the rate jumped by 167%. In Chicago, the ratio of fatal accidents to all motor vehicle collisions rose by a shocking 292%. Looking outside the United States, Reuters found similar statistics, and some that were even worse. Madrid, Spain, saw its rate of fatal collisions rise by 470%.

In another study of American motor vehicle accidents, the National Safety Council looked at the fatal accident rate per miles driven in April and found a 37% increase.

Researchers are not sure why they are seeing these increases. One theory is that drivers hoped to enjoy the relatively quiet highways by traveling at excessively high rates of speed. When these drivers got into accidents, the high speeds made fatalities and serious injuries all but inevitable.

A fatal car accident is a tragedy, no matter what the overall fatality rate or world situation looks like. When a fatal accident is caused by the negligence of another party, the family of the victim should speak to a lawyer about pursuing compensation through a wrongful death action.