One benefit of the Coronavirus is that auto accidents did go down by more than 50% during the month of April 2020 (compared to April 2019) because of the stay at home order. As traffic counts dropped, so did crashes, according to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Although the crash data for January and February 2020 showed a 6 percent increase in vehicle crashes over previous years (which would have made it a bad year for car, bicycle and pedestrian accidents), COVID-19 dropped those numbers considerably.
“We were in for a really bad year, I thought,” said Gina Torres, transportation project manager with the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization, in a recent Tampa Bay Times interview. “I thought we were on the cusp of unfortunately recording-breaking numbers. It did not look good.”
Do Auto Accidents in Florida Increase During Tourist Season?
The state of Florida typically sees an increase in auto accidents during the month of March as visitors come to relax and party on the beaches or go to Disney. For example, in March of 2019, Florida saw a 10 percent increase in car crashes over the January and February average. That translated to more than 3,750 instances of cars crashing into other cars, bikes or people in the State of Florida.
Did Auto Accidents in Florida Decrease During the Coronavirus Lockdown?
Yes, because of coronavirus restrictions keeping more people at home, crash data showed a 25 percent decrease in March this year. However, remember the coronavirus lockdown did not go into effect until March 20th, so likely this number was starting to come down before the quarantine or “stay at home order” was put into place.
However during April of 2020, the number of auto accident crashes was actually nearly half as many as compared to the same month in years before. The trend held true throughout the state, Tampa Bay and in individual counties.
Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco saw a decrease of nearly 55 percent over the past couple of years, when the number for the three counties combined averaged about 4,650. This year, with fewer cars on the road during state and county stay-at-home orders, that three-county number dropped to 2,123.
Statewide, Florida drivers were involved in 16,191 crashes last month. That’s less than half of the 33,692 the state recorded one year earlier in April of 2019..
Clearly, the more cars on the road means more accidents. The number of cars go down, the number of accidents go down.
Did DUI arrests go down during Coronavirus lockdown?
Yes, overall the number of DUIs decreased. The fewer people out driving, the less opportunity for people to do bad things. The fewer people driving to and from restaurants and bars translates to fewer instances of drinking and driving. And more people working from home means fewer people zoning out during their commutes and driving distracted.
Were the roads safer during the Coronavirus lockdown?
Overall, the roads were safer. Fewer accidents. Fewer cars on the road. But traffic levels aside, there were still aggressive drivers out there. Speeding was up because nobody was in the way. In fact, one woman was accused of racing her motorcycle through Tampa and across the Howard Frankland Bridge on April 22 at more than 150 mph.
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