How 2020 Affected Crash Statistics
The past year saw record low numbers for motorists on the road each day. With travel restrictions, limitations on who could work in-office, and many more mandates dictating what was safe to do, it’s understandable to assume that there would also be fewer accidents occurring. Along with this, many states haven’t published the crash data for the past year because of how much of an anomaly it was.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued the first stay at home order on March 20, 2020. The twelve months following saw many highs and lows as our state saw cases fluctuate before peaking around November. Prior to this, Illinois saw an 11% increase in the number of traffic fatalities during the first three months of the year in comparison to that of 2019. As of February 2021, this number has decreased by over 25%.
In almost a year after the first order was issued, the state - and the city of Chicago specifically - has begun releasing new mandates for what people can do.
Chicago Restrictions, as of 02/12/21
As of February 11, Chicago started rolling out fewer restrictions for indoor dining, allowing restaurants to open at 25% capacity or 50 people per room per floor (whichever is less). Hours regulations still remain.
As of February 8, Chicago officials placed travel restrictions on anyone traveling into the city. For anyone from 46 states - not including Alaska, Hawaii, and North Dakota, the city urges the avoidance of travel, but those who wish to continue doing so have one of two options:
- 10 day quarantine upon arrival
- Negative test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival and must adhere to strict mask and social distancing guidelines
When to Expect Changes
Dr. Allison Arwady, the Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health, announced that restrictions would continue to lessen as cases decrease to 400 per day, putting the city in the “moderate risk” category. The office predicts that this number will start to decline further when the larger vaccine rollouts begin, as they currently are only receiving 42,000 doses a week. Phase 1C, which would allow other essential workers and those with pre-existing conditions to receive the vaccine, is predicted for rollout in late March.
Can We Predict Crash Statistics for 2021?
Although there’s not yet an indication that crashes are going to increase in Illinois when the restrictions ease up, we can look at other similar states who are more “open” to get a sense of how it may go. The Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, announced a stay at home order for his state the same week as Illinois. As the states have similar populations and are located in the same region geographically, it makes sense that they would be aligned in terms of restrictions.
What Ohio Tells Us
In examining the current crash trends of Ohio, we can see that they are pretty consistent with Illinois in that there is a decrease in the number of crashes at this point compared to last year. However, the decline in Ohio is not as significant as what is registering in Illinois. This can show us that there is a correlation between the state-imposed restrictions and amount of collisions occurring.
While it’s still early in the year to have a definitive answer or show significant trends, it is a good indication that these rates will go back to what we saw pre-COVID.
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