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National Traffic Study Shows Driving and Accidents Plummeted In 2020

Parul Dubey on May 12, 2021 - in News, Transportation

Vermont, Utah and Ohio buck national trend as accidents outpace drop in miles driven 


San Francisco, CA – Go Safe Labs today released its inaugural quarterly traffic safety report revealing that driving miles and frequency dropped in 2020 after shelter in place orders were enacted nationwide. The non-profit transportation safety group’s report also found that small drops in travel have generated large decreases in total accident occurrences (~15-55%), a trend that may continue as a larger percentage of the workforce continues to work from home than in the pre-pandemic economy.

Three states – VermontUtah and Ohio – diverged from the national trend, with accidents outpacing the drop in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). In Vermont, accidents were up 5.8% year over year in December as VMT declined by 19.1%. In Utah, accidents rose 1.7% as VMT dropped by 7.2%. And in Ohio, accidents decreased by 11.5% while VMT decreased by 13.4%.

“We released this report to enhance transparency and standardize data about America’s transportation infrastructure,” said Kevin Pomplun, Chairman of Go Safe Labs. “We hope this analysis gives policymakers additional insight into how driving behavior has changed during the pandemic and encourage regulators at the local, state, and federal level to prioritize public safety.”

Go Safe Labs’ research found that decreased driving correlated with decreased accidents leading to overall improvements in driving safety

Major findings from Go Safe Labs’ report include:

  • 2020 Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) dropped 400B miles to 2.8T, lowest since 2002
  • Americans drove an average of 348M less trips a day, year-over-year
  • Stay at home surged to 25% of the population
  • Monthly VMT plummeted in April, VMT remains ~10-15% lower through winter
  • Plummeting accident volumes remain depressed below VMT recovery
  • Traffic pattern changes have generated vast drops in property-damage and minor injury accident levels


Go Safe Labs full study can be found here.  

About Go Safe Labs: Go Safe Labs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that uses data to advance transportation infrastructure and enhance public safety. By assembling and standardizing transportation data at the local, state, and federal levels, Go Safe Labs aims to serve the public interest by providing information and analysis that can improve transportation safety and optimize decision-making. Data sets analyzed by Go Safe Labs provide additional insight into public safety, public infrastructure, transportation safety, and mobile navigation.

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