When the coronavirus hit Los Angeles in March and people began sheltering at home, the number of traffic collisions in the city instantly fell, and a report released Friday said accidents are down nearly 42% in the first nine months of this year.
The city recorded 24,541 collisions between January and the end of September, a steep drop from the 42,279 accidents during the same time last year, according to Los Angeles Police Department data analyzed by Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization.
The decline began in March, the month that Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered all nonessential businesses to close, Crosstown reported.
There were 2,917 collisions this March, a 41% drop from the same month a year ago.
The difference is most stark between April and July, when far fewer people were driving to work or to accomplish every little errand. This year, the LAPD recorded between 1,723 and 2,159 collisions each month. The 2019 figures were all at least twice as high, bouncing between 4,487 and 4,858.
If collision reports are anything to go by, traffic has not returned to the level before the pandemic. But they have been on the rise lately.
The number of collisions in August climbed to 2,983, a boost of more than 800 from July. September was a bit lower, with 2,662 collisions, according to the LAPD, but the figure is still well above March-July levels, when the roads were all but empty.
One thing that has not changed is where accidents happen. Downtown was the top spot for collisions both this year and last. However, the 1,234 collisions from January through September in the community is down 43% from the same time frame last year.
That trend is matched in other neighborhoods. According to the LAPD, Van Nuys remains the second-most-frequent neighborhood for collisions. Through September this year, there were 780, a 45% decrease from the same period in 2019. Westlake has seen a nearly 44% drop in collisions compared with the same time last year.
Crosstown examined LAPD publicly available data on reported traffic collisions from Jan. 1 to Sept. 31, 2020, compared with the previous year.
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