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Connecticut DOT Warns Against Deadly Driving this Holiday Season; Data reveals COVID made roads more dangerous in 2020

The Connecticut Department of Transportation Office of Highway Safety is urging the public to take extra care and caution when they hit the roads this holiday season. Crashes and tragedies often increase over the winter holidays as a result of more alcohol use, distractions and hazardous weather conditions, such as snow and ice. This year, safety experts are warning drivers, passengers, and pedestrians of escalated dangers on the roadways due to the pandemic. Research has shown an uptick in unsafe motorist behaviors during COVID-19, including excessive speeding and aggressive driving.


New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the first half of 2020, when much of the U.S. population was under stay-at-home orders, revealed that the rate of traffic deaths per mile driven went up, not down across the country, including Connecticut. Additionally, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) recently studied the effects of COVID-19 on traffic speed, volume and travel patterns compared to the previous year and found similar trends.



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Knowing that drivers are taking more risks behind the wheel during the pandemic, CTDOT is urging motorists to keep Connecticut’s roadways safe by celebrating the holidays responsibly and avoiding reckless, drunk and distracted driving.


“The best gift you can give this holiday is to make sure everyone—including yourself—gets home safe,” said CTDOT Deputy Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto. “In a year that has been filled with so much loss, we can prevent further tragedies on our roadways. Please, buckle up, drive sober, put your phone down, slow down and stay safe on the roads this holiday season.”


In 2019, there were 250 roadway fatalities in Connecticut. As of December 23, 2020, there were 296 fatalities. That’s 46 additional lives lost already this year, and 46 families with empty seats at the holiday table.  Even though traffic was significantly down for a period due to the pandemic, fatalities increased substantially in 2020. The reason for the extreme increase? At least one is the near-empty streets resulted in faster and aggressive driving, which, turned our streets more deadly. 

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