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Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / Blog / Car Accidents / Rhode Island Courier Carrying COVID-19 Samples Crashed, Prompting Hazmat Response

Rhode Island Courier Carrying COVID-19 Samples Crashed, Prompting Hazmat Response


After hearing the news about a car crash involving a courier carrying COVID-19 test samples, Rhode Island residents were concerned that the samples spilled on the roadway.

The crash occurred on Interstate 95 in Seekonk and involved a 49-year-old Rhode Island woman who was delivering coronavirus samples to a lab for testing, according to WYCN-LD.

The courier, driving her Honda Civic, collided with a tractor-trailer near the Massachusetts and Rhode Island border at around 7:50 a.m. on Tuesday, April 7. After the collision, the Honda spun out and hit an ambulance, which was also traveling on the road.

When first responders observed spilled liquid on the roadway and in the car, a hazardous materials team was deployed to the scene. Their first thought was that the spilled liquid came from COVID-19 samples that the courier was delivering to a laboratory.

However, the hazmat crew determined the liquid to be the courier’s coffee, while a plastic container holding the coronavirus test samples remained undamaged as a result of the crash involving three vehicles.

Another courier arrived to complete the delivery of the COVID-19 samples. The driver of the Honda was hospitalized. A woman in the ambulance, which was headed to a Rhode Island hospital, sustained a moderate personal injury.

Are There Fewer Car Accidents in Rhode Island Due to the Stay-at-Home Order?

On the same day of the crash, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 8, as reported by WHDH. Raimondo’s executive orders, which included extending court closures through May 17, came as the state reported a total of 1,450 coronavirus cases and at least 35 deaths as of April 7.

Rhode Island’s stay-at-home order is meant to keep residents at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state has seen traffic volume reduce by about half since the stay-at-home order went into effect. Consequently, Rhode Island could also see fewer traffic accidents thanks to the order, but no data is available at the time.

Many states have already recorded a significant reduction in the number of traffic accidents as a result of stay-at-home orders. According to The Los Angeles Times, California’s stay-at-home order, which went into effect on March 20, reduced car crashes on the state’s roadways by roughly half.

Why Do Traffic Crashes Decrease During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

According to the report, the reduced number of motor vehicle crashes in California can be “directly or indirectly attributed” to the state’s order aimed at keeping Californians at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 60% drop in traffic volume in California, when compared with the same period in 2019, caused the state’s motor vehicle crashes to fall by roughly 50%. Given the fact that people limit their use of motor vehicles to travel to work, buy groceries, and perform other “essential” activities when a stay-at-home order is in effect, it is not surprising that the number of accidents decreases.

Also, there are fewer drunk driving accidents because bars and restaurants remain closed in Rhode Island during the stay-at-home order. However, it does not mean that there are no car crashes in Rhode Island while the order is in effect. If you were involved in a collision, contact a Rhode Island car accident attorney at Robert E. Craven & Associates. Let us investigate your case and help you obtain compensation. Call at 401-453-2700 for a case review.






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