The current government orders and proclamations promoting social-distancing and remote working in order to save lives during the ongoing coronavirus crisis also are having the added benefit of saving lives on Washington roads, particularly in the greater Seattle area.
As traffic has nosedived in the wake of business closures and remote-working edicts, so too have motor vehicle accidents, which have declined by 67% statewide, according to a study of Washington State Patrol traffic data conducted by the Davis Law Group. The study compares traffic data for the third work week of March this year (March 16-20) to the same period (March 18-22) in 2019.
Fatal accidents statewide plummeted 100% over the period analyzed — from 12 to zero — while accidents involving serious injuries declined by 78% — going from 32 to seven.
“King, Pierce and Snohomish counties have seen a tremendous reduction in the number of motor vehicle collisions [over the same period],” the Davis Law Group says. “Weekday accidents in King County fell by 75%. Pierce County saw a 55% reduction in the number of crashes. And in Snohomish County accidents for the third week of March were down 74% year-over-year.”
By the numbers, motor vehicle accidents in King County for the third week of March compared to the same period last year dropped from 739 to 183. In Pierce County, vehicle accidents declined from 257 to 115 and, in Snohomish County, vehicle collisions declined from 228 to 58 over the period.
In the city of Seattle, the decline in vehicle accidents year over year was 76% — from 327 to 78. For Bellevue, the drop was even steeper, 81%, going from 53 to 10 over the period. Other Seattle-area communities posting significant declines include Everett, down 72%; Tacoma, down 49%, Federal Way down 79% and Renton, down 56%
“Across the state, from Seattle to Spokane the number of crashes during the third week of March  on Interstate 90 fell a staggering 81%,” the report states. “And from the Canadian border to Oregon, accidents in Washington state along Interstate 5 fell 79%.”