Impact of population lockdown during spring 2020 COVID crisis

The sudden stop of journeys, which at the end of the lockdown period resumed very gradually, has reduced dramatically the number of road traffic accidents. However, the severity of accidents has increased.

As a result of Covid 19, the French population was in lockdown from 16 March to 10 May 2020. This had repercussions on economic activity, population movements and thus reduced the number of road traffic accidents.

The analysis of the first half of 2020 is presented in the ONISR quarterly dashboard

Comparison of the evolution of traffic in relation to a reference period at the beginning of 2020 (State-operated trunk road network) with the evolution of road traffic injury accidents on all road networks shows similarities in terms of the timing of movements, but also differences which will have to be explored later by road type, road users, and by comparing with the same periods in previous years for both accidents and traffic.

The study of accidents and fatalities over the first half of 2020 compared to previous years shows a real drop in accident numbers during the lockdown period, but also a recovery in the following period which is not yet equal to a situation corresponding to previous years travel.

Road deaths, which had fallen sharply in the first week of lockdown, picked up slightly around Easter and more markedly mid-May. It even exceeded the 2015-2019 average number of road fatalities during the week of the Ascension long weekend (18-24 May 2020), reaching an intermediate level in June (-31% in week 26 compared to the 2015-2019 average number of fatalities).

Mortality by mode of travel, by week, illustrates the resumption of leisure travel during May, particularly by motorcycle, while the restraint on motorists' journeys contains the general result. Working from home, which is still widely used, and the postponement of the usual holiday in June have limited travel, as shown by Cerema's traffic index.

The mortality per week by road environment illustrates a reduction in travel that has affected all networks overall. Only the Ascension long week-end is even more marked than usual.

What is the typology of accidents during the lockdown period (weeks 12 to 19, i.e. from 16 March to 10 May 2020)?

Not surprisingly, the usual morning, noon and evening commute peaks have disappeard.

However, analysis of the distribution of the contribution of each time slot to road mortality indicates a higher contribution from the 19:00-22:00 period (19% compared to 12% of the 5-year average), and a lower contribution from the 13:00-16:00 time slot.

Overall mortality drops by -63% during the lockdown period.
Car and motorcycle fatalities contribute the most to the decrease (1/2 and 1/4 respectively).
Pedestrian fatalities decrease slightly less (-57%). Bicyclist fatalities decrease more (-73%).

Fatalities among 25-44 year olds and 45-64 year olds fell less than the overall decline, but these declines contributed 1/3 and 1/5 respectively.
The drop in mortality for those aged 75 years and over is the largest (-78%), however, this drop accounts for 1/6 of the overall drop.