Car crashes down by 75% in Phoenix metro area as COVID-19 pandemic continues

These days, driving on the highways during what used to be rush hour proves how many people are either staying home, or working from home.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the roads are clear at even the most congested times, with traffic on the eastbound lanes of US 60 in the East Valley moving along even during the afternoon hours.

There are also less crashes on the road since Arizonans were told to stay home due to the pandemic. According to numbers obtained by FOX 10 in a records request, wrecks have dropped by 75%.

According to the figures, in the first two weeks of this month before Arizonans were told to stay home, there were 1,018 collisions in the Phoenix metro area. In the last two weeks with many staying home, crashes have decreased to just 266.

Chuck Farmer with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the drop in crashes tracks with other times the economy has stalled.

"During the last recession, we saw a big drop in travel in driving, and we saw a huge drop in crashes and certainly a big drop in crash deaths," said Farmer. "One thing to remember is it’s temporary, because once the crash ended, it jumped back up again."

In a two-day operation last week, DPS officials say they handed out 300 violations in Maricopa County. Many of them were for speeding tickets, so just because there’s less cars, doesn’t mean people can drive dangerously.

Less crashes and safer roads is one of the few positives of this situation right now, according to farmer.

"It is a nice thing to have, a nice silver lining that comes out of this," said Farmer. "While we’re trying to reduce the risk of catching the virus, we’re also reducing the risk of being in a crash."

FOX 10 has reached out to ADOT officials for comment. Officials say it doesn’t matter how many cars are on the road, as all it takes is for one inattentive driver to make a construction site deadly.

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