Dangerous driving across the U.S., including in New York, is on the rise. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York has seen more reckless driving, such as speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving, that results in traffic fatalities.
Although bad driving is not limited to a single group, New York’s recent surge in fatal crashes disproportionately involves young male drivers. A lack of law enforcement is blamed in part for the deadly trend.
You don’t have to prove fault to recover compensation from your insurance company. But if your losses exceed your policy limits, you may need to look into additional coverage options.
It’s no secret that male drivers–particularly young male drivers– are statistically the most dangerous drivers on the road. For example, a 2010 study from the NYC Department of Transportation found that 80 percent of serious or fatal injury pedestrian crashes involve male drivers.
But an analysis in the New York Post indicates the problem has gotten worse since the arrival of COVID in March 2020. Citing statistics from the Institute of Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), the Post reports that, in 2021, male drivers under the age of 30 were involved in 83 fatal crashes in New York City. This accounts for roughly 28 percent of fatal crashes in New York City that year.
ITSMR data also shows that drivers under the age of 30 were involved in 100 fatal crashes in New York City in 2020, an increase of nearly 43 percent compared to 2017 and 2019.
Diving further into the data, the Post found that from 2017 – 2019, New York averaged 13 alcohol-related traffic deaths per year, 51 deaths attributed to driver inattention, and 42 attributed to speeding. These averages increased to 21, 41, and 80, respectively, in 2021.
Prior to the pandemic, New York City had seen traffic deaths steadily decrease from 1990 to 2019. Preliminary data shows that in the first five months of 2022, traffic deaths were down slightly from 2021, but were still higher than pre-COVID levels.
The Post notes that New York’s increase in traffic deaths coincides with a growing number of homicides and drug overdoses and reflects a broader public safety problem in the City. Mayor Adams said that car crashes are a sign of “a city of disorder.”
Adams intends to step up police enforcement efforts in areas where there is a pattern of reckless driving. The City also continues to install speed bumps, redesign intersections to slow traffic, and put in new bike lanes.
It’s been well understood for years that young male drivers are involved in an outsized number of traffic accidents. This pattern now appears to be intersecting with the fact that traffic accidents have been on the rise overall since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speed, impairment, distraction, and fatigue top the list of reasons why crashes are increasing. These behaviors raise the risk of traffic accidents across all driver groups–not just young males. But evidence suggests that young men are more likely to engage in these dangerous driving behaviors.
For example, according to the New York State Department of Health, young drivers in general, and young men in particular, are more likely to engage in dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as drowsy driving, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt.
A 2022 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that speeding contributed to a greater proportion of male drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes than for female drivers killed in crashes from 1982 to 2020. The report also noted that a significantly higher proportion of fatally injured male drivers had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more compared to female drivers during the same period.
While there was an approximately 5% decrease in the number of licensed young drivers from 2019 to 2020, the number of young drivers who died in traffic accidents over the same period increased 17 percent, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This could be because young male drivers increased their time on the road during the early stage of the pandemic, according to a 2022 study by the American Automobile Association.
Some experts have suggested that decreased enforcement of traffic laws and increased drowsy driving due to fatigue on the part of front-line workers may also be behind the rise in crashes.
New York’s No-Fault automobile insurance laws mandate minimums of $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $10,000 per accident for property damage, as well as up to $2,000 per month to cover lost work income. These benefits are available even if you are at fault for the accident.
However, if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them and recover damages in addition to your policy limits. Filing a car accident lawsuit may be possible–and necessary–when you suffer serious injuries.
The Sanders Law Firm has been fighting for car crash victims since 1967. We are one of the largest, most aggressive, and most successful personal injury law firms in New York, with thousands of satisfied clients and hundreds of millions of dollars recovered. To schedule your free case review, call or contact us.