The pandemic was the bloodiest year for driving in over a decade

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Photo by Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

Road deaths jumped 7.2 percent in 2020 from the year before, hitting a 13-year high, even though people weren’t driving as much, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But while NHTSA’s numbers paint a grim picture, they offer only a glimpse at what’s shaping up to be a historically bloody year of driving.

Overall, 38,680 people died in car crashes in 2020, the highest number since 2007. But it’s worse than it sounds, since the number of miles driven in the US dropped by 13 percent. That means every mile someone drove last year was more dangerous than it was the year before.

Heeding the call to “stay home,” Americans drove less during this pandemic year. But those who did get behind the wheel engaged in...

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