While the COVID-19 pandemic has mostly cut down in traffic across the country, officials are noting an increase in the number of traffic fatalities in 2020.
KVOA in Tucson reports that 2019 saw a slight decrease in the number of motor vehicle accidents ending in fatality. Law enforcement and government agencies have seen an increase in the first half of 2020.
In Tucson, for example, the total number of fatal motor vehicle collisions in Tucson in 2019 was 27. There was a total of 5 motorcycle fatalities, 17 pedestrian deaths, and no bicycle fatalities that same year.
By comparison, there have been 47 killed in auto crashes, 17 motorcycle fatalities, 13 pedestrian deaths, and one bicyclist has been killed as of July 5th of 2020. Officials say that the increase is three times greater than at this time last year.
Captain Diana Duffy of the Tucson Police Department told KVOA that even with less traffic on Arizona roadways in terms of volume, people are traveling at higher speeds or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“It’s an actually a nationwide trend, “Captain Dufy said. “Traffic collisions are down in most places. Fatalities are not.”
According to Captain Duffy, the City of Tucson has received a grant that will go toward adding more lighting and safety features such as rumble strips to the city’s streets.
Duffy advises drivers to look twice, especially whenever making turns. This is especially important in places where it’s not as well lit and hard to see hazards in the road.
“If you cannot see due to lighting or vehicles, don’t take that chance.”