Fatal auto accidents jumped more than 20% in Washington State for the first nine months of 2022 when compared to the same period in 2021. This is preliminary data and additional research is needed to explain exactly why this jump occurred. On the surface, this 2022 data does appear to be a continuation of the trend we saw in the summer of 2020.

Back in 2020, the biggest contributor to the rise in fatal collisions was excessive speed. Historically, speeding has been the most common and most preventable factor in fatal auto accidents. Covid-related restrictions led to fewer cars on the road. Those who were driving found open roads and many were speeding at a much higher rate than when streets were congested with traffic. Obviously, higher speeds lead to greater potential for serious injuries and even death when a collision occurred.

There was also a decline in seatbelt use in 2020. Maybe folks were making shorter trips or figured there was less risk of collision since fewer cars were on the road. As kids we were told, “the car doesn’t move until everyone is buckled.” That still sounds like awfully good advice.

Lastly, it’s always important to think critically about data, especially when comparing relatively short periods, like year over year. Is it possible that fatal collisions in 2021 were artificially low? We were still under many Covid restrictions in early 2021. Low numbers in 2021 might just mean the increase from 2021 to 2022 is more of a “return to the norm” than an explosion of new bad driving habits.

Everyone has a responsibility to drive in a manner that minimizes the risk of a collision. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident or passed away due to a wrongful death collision, then you should call the injury attorneys at Cooney Law Offices. We can help!