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The effects of COVID on Road Accidents & Deaths

road accidents during COVID lockdown
Road accidents during COVID lockdown
road accidents during COVID lockdown
Road accidents during COVID lockdown (stock image).

The Unforeseen Benefits of COVID Lockdowns. How adherence to regular traffic laws and vehicle standards have led to decline of road accidents & fatalities as overall safety goes up. 

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down, forcing people on all parts of the globe to get used to the so-called new normal. Social distancing, staying at home, and a number of other introduced restrictions have seriously affected our daily lives. Road traffic is one of the areas that has seen dramatic changes but how might have COVID lockdowns affected numbers of road fatalities.

Road Deaths On A Global Scale

While the set of restrictive measures and the overall situation on the roads vary greatly from one country to another, the majority of them have seen a drop in traffic. However, the stay-at-home factor is not the only one that contributes to decreasing the mortality rate. A lot depends on regular traffic laws and vehicle standards that apply in a certain country, and their ability (or inability) to increase safety and minimize the number of collisions. According to the data provided by The World Health Organization, while the number of road traffic deaths in the countries with middle and high-income have decreased, low-income countries have shown a continual rise in road mortality rates.

road accidents during COVID lockdown
Road accidents during COVID lockdown

Here is the situation with road mortalities in different countries before the COVID-19 outbreak as presented by Compare The Market AU.

What about the figures registered after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic? Even though most countries are planning to release exact data at the beginning of 2021, Australia’s monthly reports have already revealed a reduction in fatal car crashes and road-related mortalities: 1,105 (in the year ending June 2020) instead of 1,196 registered for the same period in 2019.

Laws And Vehicle Safety Standards

As a rule, countries with lower road death rates have a well-developed legal structure that incorporates a wide range of safety rules and laws. On the other hand, in countries with higher levels of road mortalities, even basic standards are often not respected or even do not exist. What are those basic laws that contribute to safe driving?

  • Good speed laws set a limit of no more than 50km/h in urban areas, leaving it to respective authorities to modify national speed limits.
  • Good helmet laws provide for mandatory wearing of proper fastened helmets for all drivers and passengers of motorcycles regardless of the type of roads.
  • Good seat belt laws mandate that everyone in a motorized vehicle wear seat belts, including drivers, front-seat, and back-seat passengers.
  • Good child restraint laws require all children under 10 years or smaller than 135cm to use a child seat. Additionally, children of a certain age or height cannot sit in the front seat next to the driver.
  • Good vehicle standards that usually among other things include protection against frontal and side impacts, an electronic stability control system, seat belt anchorages, motorcycle anti-lock braking function, as well as the various mechanisms intended to protect pedestrians from danger imposed by a motorized vehicle.

With peak hours and crazy busy roads being already a distant memory, it looks natural that people can count on the significant decrease in severe car accidents and, as a result, the drop in road-related mortalities. Let’s hope that this assumption will soon become our reality.