The early stages of the coronavirus pandemic caused travel in America to drop by almost half, a new study has revealed.

Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s New American Driving Survey (2020) revealed the average number of all daily personal car trips fell by 45 percent in April 2020 and 40 percent for trips by all modes of transportation combined.

However, despite fewer cars on the road and more people staying home, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently estimated that 38,680 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2020 — the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007.

The dip in travel moderated later in the year but remained below 2019 levels.

The projected increase in deaths on the roads is a rise of about 7.2 percent over 2019.

“It’s counterintuitive to see the rate of traffic deaths spike when so many of us were driving less often,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy.

“As the U.S. climbs out of the COVID-19 pandemic, highway safety officials will need to double down on curbing speeding, substance-impaired driving, and failure to buckle up.”