For the approximately 270 million Americans who are socially isolating because of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a silver lining to the reduced travel on the road: fewer car accidents.

A new study from the University of California, Davis (UCD) published today reveals that California’s traffic accidents have fallen by half since Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a stay-at-home mandate on March 19. 

Prior to the stay-at-home orders, researchers estimate that there were approximately 1,000 collision incidents and 400 injury and fatal accidents per day on highways across California, per data from the university’s real-time California Highway Incident Processing System (CHIPS).


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With stay-at-home orders now in place, researchers at UCD now see approximately 500 collisions and 200 injuries or fatal incidents. 

The report also cites traffic volumes had ultimately decreased by 60 percent on certain highways, explaining the corresponding decrease in car accidents. 


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Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Fraser Shilling, the co-director of UCD’s Road Ecology Center said that the reduction “can be directly or indirectly attributed to the shelter-in-place order.”

Californians — along with those in many other states — are being ordered to stay home to reduce the community spread of coronavirus. Gov. Newsom was the first governor to set mandatory stay-at-home restrictions to help combat the spread of the virus.

The order has effectively shut down nonessential businesses and encouraged remote working. Ultimately, this amounts to less commuters and less travelers on California’s often crowded roads. 

The highways measured in the study include I-5, both north of Los Angeles and toward Oceanside, U.S. Route 101, U.S. Route 99, state road 152 toward Los Banos and I-280 toward Daly City. 

“We’ve never had a statewide experiment like this before,” Shilling said. “Where you severely reduced traffic and then in real time monitor the public health implications of less vehicles and their pollution.”

The report noted that there was no statistically significant change in accidents involving animals, which Shilling told the Times would require “a longer time frame of information” to accurately measure. 

The study was conducted using a spatial analysis comparing distributions of traffic accidents before and after Gov. Newsom’s stay-at-home order.


READ MORE OF OUR BREAKING NEWS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

MORE THAN 150,000 PEOPLE HAVE RECOVERED FROM CORONAVIRUS

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 THESE ARE THE 6 WAYS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD END

CAN YOU GET CORONAVIRUS TWICE?


 

Published on Apr 01, 2020