Study finds Stay at Home orders overlap with decrease in fatal car accidents

Published: Apr. 28, 2020 at 6:49 PM CDT
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Stay at Home orders have drivers staying off the roads.

A study by AutoinsuranceEZ found the COVID-19 pandemic and related stay at home orders led to a 38 percent decrease in traffic across the United States.

Through reporting released by states, car crashes and fatal accidents have also dropped in major metropolitan areas across the country.

Closer to home, that same study found an even more significant drop in traffic patterns in our state.

“In Kansas there was a 77 percent drop in human movement,” said Nelson Garcia of AutoinsuranceEZ Tuesday.

According to Garcia, human movement refers to use of cars and public transportation. Those remaining on the road likely include those in essential services.

”It's difficult to separate what the reason is for human movement since there's no data showing why residents are driving their cars.”

The study examined major events in U.S. history that impacted the number of fatal road accidents by comparing the timing of the event to the year before, with COVID-19 topping the list.

The statistics align with preliminary data from the Kansas Department of Transportation, which shows there were 5,150 fewer crashes in the state compared to this time last year, and 35 less fatal crashes.

Kansas Highway Department officials say it shows Kansans are following stay at home rules.

“People are generally good drivers a majority of the people out on the road abide by the rules they stay close to the speed limit,” noted Trooper Don Hughes Tuesday. “Most people are adhering to the rules and doing their essential travels and we expect to see that increase as the stay at home orders are lifted.”

According to Hughes, the Highway Department is anticipating a gradual increase of motorists as more people return to their regular schedules, but trusts Kansas motorists will follow the rules of the road.

“Be prepared because there's going to be a lot more people on the road than they've been used to when they've just been doing their essential driving take your time, be courteous.”

Even after the days of social distancing pass, Hughes said it should still be followed on the road.

“When the stay at home order is lifted I encourage people to keep that safe following distance between their vehicles, scan ahead look up see what's going on in front of them and drive accordingly.”

Trooper Hughes noted wrecks that have happened during the stay at home order have the same causes as any time -- those include impaired, distracted and drowsy driving.

The full study can be found