It is, of course, an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many, many aspects of our lives. One of the more unexpected impacts of the pandemic is the effects it has had on driving and driving accidents. There have already been reports and studies showing that the number of vehicle related deaths rose sharply in 2020 even as many of us stayed home and avoided crowded restaurants and entertainment venues.

Unfortunately, the same sharp rise in deaths appears to be true of pedestrians accidents during the pandemic, as well. A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association shows a worrying trend. In 2020, some 2,957 pedestrians were struck and killed. Similar to general vehicle on vehicle traffic deaths, this number isn’t vastly changed from its 2019 version. The problem, once again, is that there were far fewer cars on the road and far fewer miles driven in 2020 vs 2019. Working the math, we see that there was actually a 20% increase in pedestrian deaths in 2020.

The root cause seems to be the same as what spurred a rise in vehicle deaths: With far less drivers on the roads, the mix of good drivers to bad ones swung in the wrong direction. Additionally, reckless drivers may have taken the emptier roads as an open playground for faster, more dangerous driving with the predictable end results far outweighing the fewer miles driven.