As a result of COVID-19, government-implemented lockdowns led to a relative increase in speed-related traffic law violations and fatal motor vehicle collisions in Japan, according to research at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit.

Using police-reported data on the number of fatal motor vehicle collisions between January 2010 and February 2020, researchers forecasted the number of fatal collisions per day from March to May 2020, when Japan was under COVID-19 lockdown. Over the 10 years of data analysis in the country of more than 120 million people, the team reviewed 37,000 fatal collisions.

“Through this work, we can conclude that drivers who continued to drive during the lockdown were in fact more likely to commit speed-related violations that cause fatal motor vehicle collisions than the overall drivers did before the lockdown,” said study lead author Haruhiko Inada. “It is necessary for road users and law enforcement to understand that drivers who remain on the road during a lockdown can be at an increased risk for committing such violations that result in fatal motor vehicle collisions.”

The findings, published online on October 16 in Injury Prevention, could build upon the growing conversation on the pandemic’s effect on global public health, specifically road safety.

“COVID-19 lockdown and fatal motor vehicle collisions due to speed-related traffic violations in Japan: a time-series study” was written by Haruhiko Inada, Lamisa Ashraf, and Sachalee Campbell.

To learn more about the research, please click here.