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COVID Cut Driving Nearly Half In The Early Stage Of The Pandemic

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Sonora, CA – Many changed their driving during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, but one aspect of travel activity unfortunately climbed.

A Traffic Safety’s New American Driving Survey (2020) by the AAA Foundation showed a drastic drop in road travel at the start of the pandemic due to COVID-19 and associated restrictions. It found the average number of all daily car trips fell by 45%. While they rebounded in May and June, the number remained 20-25% below their 2019 levels during the remainder of last year. The research also concluded that trips by all modes of transportation plunged by 40%. Also, the average number of daily trips for all modes of transportation fell from 3.7 trips per day (2019) to 2.2 trips.

Unfortunately,  despite fewer cars on the road with more people staying home, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently estimated that   38,680 people died in vehicle crashes in 2020 — an increase of about 7.2% over 2019 and the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007.

AAA listed these other key findings: 

  • Daily Car trips:  Fell from 3.2 pre-pandemic to 1.8 in April 2020, before rebounding slightly to 2.6 trips for the rest of 2020.
  • Commuter Travel: Work-related travel by all transportation modes dropped by 40% in April 2020, likely reflecting a mix of layoffs, job losses, and telecommuting. Commuting trips made by workers on days when they worked decreased by approximately 22%. For the remainder of the year, commuting trips were approximately 26% below pre-pandemic levels.

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