A positive impact of social distancing: fewer traffic collisions

A car crash at 244th Street Southwest and Highway 99. (File photo courtesy Edmonds Police Department)

One positive outcome from the people staying at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak: fewer vehicle crashes.

According to a new study from Seattle’s Davis Law Group, cities and counties across Washington state, vehicle traffic on roads, highways, and interstates has fallen dramatically over the past few weeks as the local officials recommended that residents stay in their homes and workers telecommute if possible, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Davis Law Group analyzed and compared 2019 and 2020 Washington State Patrol weekday collision data for the third week of March and found that the number of car and truck accidents in Washington state has dropped 67% year-over-year. The number of chain-reaction crashes, involving three or more vehicles, has fallen by 70%.  Serious injury accidents are down by 78% and fatal collisions are down 100% year-over-year for the third week of March.

The study examined same recent five-day work week in 2020 compared to 2019 (March 16-20, 2020 and March 18-22, 2019).

In Edmonds, there were 12 collisions during that week in 2019, while in 2020 there were only three car crashes reported — a 75% reduction. In Lynnwood, there were 32 vehicle collisions in that 2019 week but just seven in 2020, a 78% reduction. And there were 67% fewer accidents in Mountlake Terrace during that 2020 week studied — two in 2020 vs. six in 2019.

And when looking at the data from the same time periods across all of Snohomish County, there was a 74% reduction in automobile crashes — 228 in 2019 vs. 58 in 2020.


  1. huh… i have seen so much more bad activity in 2020 – more DUI in lynnwood, pedestrians getting hit, uninsured motorist “hit and run”! Not sure these numbers are accurate. I personally in one week saw three people stop at red light and then drive through the red light almost causing accident one time on 164th as the driver behind was going to follow on a red light. It’s been crazy!
    Police officer killed as driver 106 is reckless driving on I5.

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