People Are Driving Like Idiots in the Pandemic

People Are Driving Like Idiots in the Pandemic. By Mark Vaughn.

Last Saturday I was driving to work westbound on the 134, traveling with the flow of traffic around me. In my rearview mirror, I saw a shiny new bronze BMW M4 that was approaching at well into triple digits. I thought to get out of the way but then figured he had already used his walnut-sized brain to plot a weave through all the cars on the freeway and, indeed, it turned out that was exactly what he was doing. As the great Cory Farley once said, “if you’re going to be a chicane, be a predictable chicane.”

As he blew by, I estimate he was going 125 mph, weaving through cars, using up more and more miracles and quickly decreasing his supply of them. Somehow, he didn’t hit anyone. I thought about calling the CHP and ratting the little weasel out, but figured if I called, the kid would be all the way back to the crack house he calls home by the time anyone could arrest him. The incident was just that day’s proof of something I have been saying for months: People are driving like idiots.

Turns out NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] agrees and has statistics to back it up.

Since there are fewer people out on the roads actually driving during the COVID-19 lockdown, the overall number of traffic deaths has dropped in the time since the pandemic started. That’s good news, right? Depends how you look at it. While total deaths did drop, the fatality rate per miles driven spiked. Drivers of the relatively few cars still out on the road are crashing with far more verve.

NHTSA just released some specs. When you look at the second quarter of 2020, the first full quarter of the pandemic, total traffic deaths have decreased by three percent compared to the second quarter of 2019. That translates into 302 fewer fatalities than the same period last year. I’m not discounting that drop, since Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. However, the traffic volume didn’t drop just three percent, it dropped more than 16 percent. There should have been a lot fewer deaths than there were. The difference is idiots like the one I encountered.

Wouldn’t know, personally. Here in Western Australia there have been no cases of the virus spread locally for about four months. There are half a dozen cases in quarantine at any one time, caught by the two week quarantine when entering. Life in WA is normal, except you cannot return without a two week quarantine. The WA economy has grown during the pandemic. Closing borders works.