This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate 3 The Bay Area's streets and highways emptied to precipitous lows last year amid shelter-in-place orders during the pandemic that thinned out the region's notorious traffic. But fewer motorists didn't lead to safer roads as fatalities held steady and, in some counties, rose above pre-pandemic figures. In a two-pronged trend that unfolded following dramatic reductions in driving, traffic deaths persisted even as the overall number of crashes across the Bay Area dropped considerably, according to fatal crash data gathered by UC Berkeley's Transportation Injury Mapping System and analyzed by The Chronicle. The region's nine counties totaled 462 traffic fatalities in 2020, just 30 fewer deaths than in 2019, while total crashes during this span dropped by 30%. "The big finding that we saw here is that since the pandemic, the rate of minor injury crashes went down, but the rate of fatal and severe crashes not only did not go down, it also went up a little bit," said Offer Grembek, co-director of UC Berkeley's Safe Transportation Research and Education Center. Though experts are still studying the root causes of the jump in roadway fatalities, they point to increased… Read full this story
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