Analysis of Auto Fatality Rates During COVID Pandemic Flawed (NMA Mention)

National Motorists Association (NMA) President Gary Biller cautions public officials and the media that a report from Sam Schwartz Engineering claiming a significant increase in motor vehicle fatality rates due in part to higher travel speeds during the COVID-19 pandemic may be misleading.

The report, based on data from a limited number of states, claims that while the overall number of auto fatalities during the first 6 months of 2020 declined by about 6% compared to the same period last year, the fatality rate based on 100,000 vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased by 12.7% due to a significant decrease in the number of miles traveled. The report posits, without proof, that “higher travel speeds is a likely factor” in the increase.

Said Biller, “The limited data from less than half the states and the speculation that vehicle speed is the cause of the increase in the fatality rate, along with other factors that Sam Schwartz appears not to have considered, provide needed context for the preliminary conclusions of the report.”