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What do road accident deaths and COVID-19 have with each other?
Succinctly stated, they are both health crises that have caused injuries and cost lives.
Statistics show that about 38,000 people die as a result of road accidents every year. The fatality rate is 12.4 deaths per 100,000 US residents. And according to a local car accident law firm, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of fatalities for people aged between 1 and 54 years. Finally, 4.4 million people are injured and need medical attention each year.
Juxtapositionally, the COVID-19 crisis continues to sweep across the globe. Current US figures quoted by John Hopkins University, show that there are 3.43 million infections with 136,468 deaths to date. The caveat here is that these numbers change daily, but they indicate the enormity of the pandemic in US society.
Both road accidents and the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted, and will continue to result, in economic hardship, death, long-term injury, grief, and loss. While the road accident phenomenon can be considered a silent killer, these health disasters have had a considerable impact on the US, and the global economy.
Therefore, the question that begs is, what can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, to drastically reduce the physical, emotional, and economic impact of road accidents?
By way of answering these questions, let’s consider the following points:
Rethinking the way, we live and work
One of the unintended side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdown is that the world has largely adjusted to living remotely. The following aspects refer to the phrase “living remotely:”
- We have developed creative solutions to work from home.
- School, college, and university studies have pivoted from face-to-face engagement to the online space.
- Medical consultations are mostly done via Zoom, Skype, or other online communication tools.
- We shop online, and the retailer delivers our groceries to our doorstep.
Reducing the need to travel or our exposure to the risk of road accidents
In summary, while there are instances where we have to communicate face-to-face with other people, society has pivoted from a physical land-based environment to a virtual environment; thereby, reducing our need to travel frequently and for long distances at a time. This, in turn, translates into a marked reduction in road accidents.
And, it reduces the need to burn fossil fuels and its corresponding impact on the environment. One of the unintended consequences of the global lockdown is that the air pollution levels in some of the most polluted cities in the world, like Beijing, China, and Delhi, India have decreased overnight.
Will the world go back to the pre-COVID-19 way of life? Or, will we embrace the “New Normal” and adjust to living life remotely as it were. As an aside, human beings are social creatures, and long periods of self-isolation or social distancing are not good for our psyches. But, hopefully, we can find the middle ground between the old and new ways of living. Only time will tell.