On March 22, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the New York on PAUSE executive order, affecting virtually every aspect of life in our community. For Hudson Valley accident victims seeking relief, it has meant that many cases have been in limbo or on hold, and for small business owners, it has begun a movement to get insurance companies to pay out for business interruption claims. And thanks to traffic information from Streetlight Data, it has meant that local drivers have been staying off the roads.
Streetlight Data aggregates anonymous location data from millions of smartphones and GPS devices to estimate how much traffic there is anywhere in the US, and then compares it against previous years.
March 2020 Traffic in the Hudson Valley
Although the PAUSE Order was issued on March 22, we can see that traffic in the Hudson Valley took a dip starting on March 15. On that day, Dutchess County traffic was down by 22%, Orange County traffic was down by 34%, and Ulster County traffic was down by 43%.
Over the next week, it tumbled all the way down to low of -74% in Dutchess, -84% in Orange, and -77% in Ulster, on March 22.
April 2020 Traffic in the Hudson Valley
For most of April, traffic barely moved from the lows of late March. The average reduction in traffic was 75% in Dutchess County, 75% in Orange County, and 71% in Ulster County.
May 2020 Traffic Information
In May, things slowly started inching back to normal. The average reductions in traffic were 58% in Dutchess County, 58% in Orange County, and 54% in Ulster County. On May 22, exactly two months after the PAUSE Order, traffic in all three counties was down just under 40% for the first time.
At the time of publication, the most recent date available on Streetlight Data was June 5. On that day, Ulster County’s traffic was only down 25% from last year, with Orange and Dutchess County both at about 38% down.
Personal Injury Car Accidents and Speeding Tickets Didn’t Necessarily Decrease
We don’t have local data yet for how much COVID-related traffic reductions affected the number of car accidents, motorcycle crashes, or pedestrian accidents in the Hudson Valley. But in other communities that have data, we’re seeing that drivers were speeding more and causing crashes with more serious injuries than normal. In New York City, for example, the New York Times reported that even though the streets were empty, the number of speeding tickets almost doubled. The Wall Street Journal also reported that even though traffic was down, the number of traffic fatalities or fatality rates increased markedly in states like Minnesota, Missouri and Louisiana.
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