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Seattle Times Reports: Washington State Among Worst States for Surge in Traffic Deaths


Though it is well-documented that roads nationwide have gotten deadlier since the onset of the pandemic, the numbers in most states have started to taper off.  That’s not the case for Washington, where the surge in traffic fatalities has continued into 2022.

In the first half of 2021, there were 249 Washington road deaths; for the same period in 2022, there were a total of 327 deaths. This constitutes a 31% increase in traffic fatalities (including driver, passenger, pedestrian, and cyclist deaths) in just one year – a jump more significant than that of all but 6 states.

By comparison, U.S. traffic fatalities decreased by 1% during that period.

Click here to read the full article from the Seattle Times.

Why did traffic fatalities increase during the pandemic?

2020 marked a 13-year high in U.S. road deaths, with 42,000 fatalities reported. Some research analysts point to an increase in risky driving behavior as an explanation, theorizing that reduced traffic due to pandemic lockdowns led many drivers to speed more on the newly uncongested roads. This is backed up by the data: In 2020, for example, the total number of miles that Americans drove decreased, but the number of speeding-related traffic deaths increased by 11%.

What are the numbers now?

Many researchers believed that the 2020 increase in road deaths was an anomaly, and that the numbers would again trend downward as roads became busier as communities came out of lockdown. However, this proved not to be the case: the number of traffic fatalities in 2021 was even higher than it was in 2020.

How bad is it in Washington?

In a word, bad. Washington experienced an 18% jump in the number in traffic deaths between 2020 and 2021 – double the national average of 9%, and placing Washington 8th in the ranking of states with the largest increases in road deaths during that period.

But lockdown is over – why are traffic fatalities still increasing?

Researchers believe that the continued increase in traffic fatalities is due to the simple fact that most people didn’t stop engaging in risky driving behaviors, even as traffic levels started to return to normal.

What can GLP Attorneys do to help?

GLP Attorneys has seen the devastating effects of this trend. Victims of traffic fatalities and their loved ones deserve justice for the tragedies that have befallen them, and it is our mission to fight for that justice on their behalf. Though we cannot lessen the pain of losing a loved one, we are passionate about helping those left behind in the aftermath. GLP Attorneys has decades of experience helping victims in these kinds of situations, including in cases involving automobile collisions, bicycle injuries, brain injury, highway design, insurance bad faith, motorcycle accidents, trucking injury, and wrongful death.

If you or a loved one becomes seriously injured or dies in an automobile collision, call one of our attorneys today. We have experience serving Washington for over 36 years in cases like these.

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