USA- Caranddriver.com writes that young men are driving recklessly more often amid the pandemic. The study suggests that in rural areas, young men are engaging in dangerous driving behaviors at rates higher than prior to the arrival of COVID-19. Also increasing are rates of alcohol use, drug use, cannabis, and opioids among motorists who are involved in deadly collisions. The difference is in driving today as opposed to before the coronavirus is leading to changes in safety messages.
Part of the issue is that in response to the deadly virus, stay-at-home orders led to a drastic decline in the number of vehicles on the road. The lower levels of traffic caused some motorists to pick up dangerous habits behind the wheel. One major issue appears to be speeding. With fewer cars and less traffic, drivers could reach higher speeds than they normally would have before stay-at-home orders were issued. Police also reduced traffic enforcement as an effort to avoid exposing themselves and others to the virus during traffic stops.
Studies also indicate that the use of seatbelts is down and that more people are using alcohol and drugs. The unfortunate changes in driving patterns are making the roads more dangerous than they were just a few months ago. The number of deaths per mile traveled is up as compared to recent years. The research and the data are still new, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still working to determine exactly what is transpiring on America’s roads.
Prior to March, the number of traffic users killed in crashes who tested positive for alcohol use was 21.3 percent. After March 16th, that number increased to 26.9 percent. Cannabis levels among drivers killed in crashes increased from 21.4 percent to 31.2 percent. The increase in opioid use is even more shocking as it went from 7.6 percent to 12.9 percent. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the rate of alcohol or drug use identified in drivers increased from just over 50 percent to 64.7 percent. The rate of drug use among male drivers is higher than that of females in all of the various categories.
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