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COVID-19 lockdown reduces road traffic accidents

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have just released figures demonstrating the impact that the COVID-19 lockdown has had on road traffic accidents and the serious injuries caused as a result.

Intuitively it has been clear that with less people on the roads, that there will have been a lower number of road traffic collisions, but evidence is now available to explain what the effect has been. The data from the ABI shows that with people being asked to stay at home other than for essential travel, insurance claims in 2020 were at 2.1 million, down 19% on the previous year. Average payouts per claim rose, but even so there was a 6% reduction in payouts compared to the previous year.

Drivers had hoped that the cost of insurance premiums would come down to reflect the lower number of claims, but in fact the average cost of an insurance premium fell by only 1%.

Philip Edwards, our serious injury claims expert said:

“Every road traffic case I deal with involves a personal tragedy, a life changing event, where people have sustained catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one. The fact that there have been less of these terrible events is a good thing, but the authorities must not drop their guard and have to remain committed to safety measures, both on the roads and in vehicles, to ensure that when lockdown ends we do not see a return to pre-lockdown rates of injuries and deaths on our roads”

There is some debate amongst commentators about what might happen when lockdown ends. Some are concerned that there will be a spike in accidents as people return to the roads, their driving skills are rusty or because of a lack of experience of driving over the last year. Others point out that we may be living in a “new normal” where there will be less commuting to work as many people continue to work from home, and hence less road users and fewer accidents. It is to be hoped that after this difficult period of the pandemic, at least one outcome might be positive, and injuries and deaths on our roads will not increase again.


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