The pandemic meant less road traffic—yet US traffic deaths rose 7% in 2020, and Black people bore the brunt, according to a new report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The Washington Post reports.
Why? Apparently, drivers saw emptier roads as an opportunity to drive faster, with deadly consequences.
As with the COVID pandemic, researchers believe this is due to existing inequities being compounded—such as more dangerous roads in Black communities.
Another report released Tuesday found that from 2015 to 2019, Black pedestrians were killed at higher rates than whites.
Addressing this inequity is a key aim of a $20 billion road safety plan proposed by the Biden administration.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called the disparity “unacceptable”: “This reflects broader patterns of inequity in our country—and it underscores the urgent work we must undertake as a nation to make our roads safer for every American.”