Evaluation of motor vehicle crash rates during and after the COVID-19-associated stay-at-home order in Connecticut

Accid Anal Prev. 2021 Nov:162:106399. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2021.106399. Epub 2021 Sep 15.


Introduction: Recent research suggests that COVID-19 associated stay-at-home orders, or shelter-in-place orders, have impacted intra-and-interstate travel as well as motor vehicle crashes (crashes). We sought to further this research and to understand the impact of the stay-at-home order on crashes in the post order period in Connecticut.

Methods: We used a multiple-comparison group, interrupted time-series analysis design to compare crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per week in 2020 to the average of 2017-2019 from January 1-August 31. We stratified crash rate by severity and the number of vehicles involved. We modeled two interruption points reflecting the weeks Connecticut implemented (March 23rd, week 12) and rescinded (May 20th, week 20) its stay-at-home order.

Results: During the initial week of the stay-at-home order in Connecticut, there was an additional 28 single vehicle crashes compared to previous years (95% confidence interval (CI): [15.8, 36.8]). However, the increase at the order onset was not seen throughout the duration. Rescinding the stay-at-home order by and large did not result in an immediate increase in crash rates. Crash rates steadily returned to previous year averages during the post-stay-at-home period. Fatal crash rates were unaffected by the stay-at-home order and remained similar to previous year rates throughout the study duration.

Discussion: The initial onset of the stay-at-home order in Connecticut was associated with a sharp increase in the single vehicle crash rate but that increase was not sustained for the remainder of the stay-at-home order. Likely changes in driver characteristics during and after the order kept fatal crash rates similar to previous years.

Keywords: COVID-19; Interrupted time-series analysis; Motor vehicle crashes; Stay-at-home orders.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Automobile Driving*
  • COVID-19*
  • Connecticut / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Motor Vehicles
  • SARS-CoV-2