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Why Nashville had fewer drivers but more car accidents in 2020

If there are fewer drivers on the road, you might think that would mean there would also be fewer collisions and cases of reckless driving. However, that is not always the case. 

In 2020, Nashville’s number of roadway fatalities increased to 289 from 277 in 2019, despite a decrease in vehicles on the road. During this time, countless individuals shifted away from commuting to work, yet more people died in car accidents. Why was that?  

Fewer Tickets Due to Social Distancing

One explanation for last year’s high number of roadside injuries may have to do with the fact that millions of people were avoiding contact with others due to personal health concerns. That included police officers. As a result, law enforcement pulled over fewer drivers, and drivers faced fewer consequences for breaking the law. 

Increased Aggression Due to Isolation

Another reason for the increase in aggressive driving might be due to mental health concerns. Without a doubt, staying inside a home for extended periods of time, as many people did during this time, can have negative effects on a person’s psyche. In particular, psychiatrists of see increases in anger and aggression for individuals who have experienced this kind of physical and social isolation. 

Around the world, 2020 was a challenging year for most people. While some challenges have been obvious, researchers are only starting to learn about others like the impact of the lockdowns on driving behaviors. By understanding the causes behind 2020’s vehicle collisions, lawmakers and citizens can find ways to address them.