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It may be inconvenient, confusing, frustrating, and frightening, but there is an upside to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis. Car accidents in the state have been slashed in half thanks to the efforts of those who are socially isolating.

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home mandate on March 19th, urging residents to work from home whenever possible. Many industries, particularly the entertainment and tourism industries which provide so many jobs in the state, have shut down almost entirely for the time being, leaving Californians out of work — but also off the roads.

The resulting reduction in traffic has been paying off when it comes to accidents.  Data from the University’s California Highway Incident Processing System (CHIPS), which tracks collisions in real time, shows that accidents resulting in injuries or fatalities have dropped from about 400 per day statewide to around 200. So-called “collision incidents,” or crashes in which no one was injured or killed, saw a similar drop, from 1000 per day to 500.

The system uses charts, maps, and other tools to compare data in areas patrolled by the California Highway Patrol. Between February 27 and April 11, 2019, and the same time period in 2020, there was a 55% reduction in traffic. That, in turn, led to the decline in collisions and crashes.

Although staying at home for the foreseeable future rather than going to work and getting paid might not be ideal for many Californians, the fact that fewer people are getting hurt on the state’s highways and byways is definitely good news.

Auto accidents can have devastating consequences, of course — ranging from physical injuries and emotional trauma to the financial implications of car repair and higher insurance rates.

According to the car accident lawyers at The Barnes Firm in California, traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, and other injuries can severely affect a person’s ability to make a living and enjoy spending time with their families.

For Californians, staying home in the wake of the pandemic can result in good health, continued safety, and higher quality of life not just by preventing coronavirus, but by lowering the risk of a cataclysmic automobile collision.


Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev on Unsplash



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