This article explores how COVID-19 has disrupted seasonal traffic patterns countrywide and the resulting impacts on motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) in workers compensation (WC). This is a follow-up to a recent NCCI article that found that MVAs continue to be a key driver of WC costs, with MVA lost-time claims continuing to cost over 80% more than the average lost-time claim.
COVID-19 continues to impact the economy and behaviors in both temporary and potentially systemic ways. Overall, MVA-related WC system costs in 2020 are projected to be reduced due to COVID-19 and therefore, potentially offset other COVID-19-related costs.
Overall, COVID-19 will initially result in an expected decrease to WC MVA costs as the number of WC MVAs declines, consistent with decreases in miles driven between March and June 2020.
Two historically consistent statistics could be disrupted by the pandemic:
- The number of WC MVA claims compared with miles driven, and
- The number of WC MVA fatalities compared with all MVA fatalities
Monthly miles traveled and MVA fatalities decreased significantly between March and May 2020 compared with seasonal mileage statistics. But an increase in MVA fatalities in June may be driven by changes in driving dynamics.
There were more MVA fatalities per mile traveled between March and June 2020, compared with seasonal mileage statistics. Miles traveled decreased more than MVA fatalities.
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