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According to a new INRIX study, the Los Angeles area reportedly saw a 21% decrease in collisions during the coronavirus pandemic. The study analyzed data from the top 25 U.S. metro areas. Among those regions, Los Angeles had the 19th largest reduction in crashes during the pandemic.
The study found that interstate 10, which normally experiences the most collisions in the metro area, saw a 26% decrease in crashes since last year. The thoroughfare was still ranked as the top collision corridor. But the riskiest hotspot was Long Beach Boulevard at Interstate 105.
INRIX began tracking, analyzing and reporting transportation trends at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study was done by analyzing road conditions in the top 25 metro areas’ busiest interstates, freeways, expressways and arterials.
New York City saw the largest reduction in crashes, with a 38% decrease. New York was followed by Phoenix, Seattle, Detroit, San Antonio, Boston, Minneapolis, Dallas, Sacramento, San Diego, Denver, San Francisco, Portland, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Orlando, and then Los Angeles.
Car crashes are reportedly the fourth leading cause of premature death in Los Angeles county, ahead of homicides, strokes, and lung cancer. Out of the 200 most populous cities in the U.S., Allstate ranked LA as the 195th safest city to drive in.
Per their report, morning and evening commute corridors reached free flow speeds in cities around the country by mid-March. In early April, nationwide VMT dropped 46% from pre-pandemic levels, rebounding to normal in late June. However, out of the top 100 metros, just 45 have met their pre-pandemic level of VMT.
It had been previously reported that traffic accidents and crash-related injuries and deaths were reduced by half during the first three weeks of California’s shelter-in-place order. Nine months later, things changed.
As traffic volume dropped in the early days of the pandemic, vehicle speeds increased rapidly, which ultimately played a significant factor in the rise in the fatality rate on our nation’s roadways — especially in Los Angeles. Back in April, LA and California as a whole saw a rise in drag races. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation released a study showing that speeds were up by as much as 30% on some city surface streets. Also, the CHP reported seeing an alarming 87% increase in citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph.
During the first four months of COVID-19 restrictions, collisions decreased across all major metropolitan areas. However, since August, collisions have tracked closer to their 2019 levels. Early federal statistics indicate a 31% increase in the Q2 fatality rate, while collisions decreased significantly.