Virtually all motorists in the United States know that driving while intoxicated significantly increases their chances of causing accidents that may result in serious injury or even death. Unfortunately, some still choose to get behind the wheel while drunk.
There is also reason to believe this has become an increasingly major problem in California recently. For example, last year, district attorneys from various counties in our state noted that traffic fatalities in 2021 had increased by 15% when compared to the previous year. Although not the only factor contributing to this trend, early data indicates an increase in rates of drunk driving is at least partially to blame for this alarming development.
Multiple district attorneys agree that the Covid-19 pandemic played a role in the rise of drunk driving accidents across California. They stated that the pandemic has been a stressful experience for many people. Thus, it is not necessarily surprising that more California motorists than usual may be turning to alcohol as a means of coping.
There is likely some validity to this interpretation of the trend. After all, the increase in accidents related to drunk driving has been observed in virtually all states. The pandemic is among the few common denominators that could explain why more intoxicated drivers are getting behind the wheel throughout the country.
It’s worth noting that drunk driving is among several causes that have been linked to high rates of traffic fatalities in the US. Statistics indicate fatal accidents are becoming increasingly commonplace because motorists are also speeding and failing to wear their seatbelts to a greater degree than usual.
It’s not clear whether these causes are also a result of the pandemic. Perhaps motorists who continued driving during the height of the pandemic, when many others were remaining home, grew accustomed to speeding more than usual because roads were fairly empty in some areas. Now that traffic patterns have essentially returned to normal, these motorists might be more likely to cause accidents if they are still speeding.
Explaining why fewer drivers and passengers are choosing to wear seatbelts these days proves to be more challenging. Again, if they were driving on empty roads when the pandemic was at its height, they could have felt it was acceptable to not wear seatbelts, feeling their odds of being involved in accidents were relatively low. Perhaps they never went back to using seatbelts even when drivers started flooding back onto the road.
Regardless, agencies throughout California will continue to monitor accident rates to see if they return to normal and to identify ways to address this problem. Individual drivers can do their part by not driving while intoxicated, not speeding, and wearing seatbelts.
However, even if you’re a responsible driver, you may have already been injured because another motorist was careless. Contact a San Francisco drunk driving accident attorney at Allegiance Law if so. We can help you pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses resulting from your accident. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 415-404-6395.