A dramatic improvement in air quality has been touted as one of the upsides to the COVID-19 crisis in Los Angeles.  Now you can add safer roads to the list.

Since the start of California's stay-at-home order on March 19, researchers from the UC Davis Road Ecology Center have found that the number of automobile collisions has been cut in half when compared to the same 22-day stretch in the previous year.

Likewise, researchers found a 38 percent reduction in motorcycle and automobile trauma injuries at Sacramento area hospitals, and a 46 percent reduction in bicycle and pedestrian trauma injuries.

The sharp reduction in injuries and collisions has come as traffic volumes have dropped statewide.  The report cities declines ranging from as low as 20 percent to as much as 55 percent on select highways.

Despite the overall reduction in collisions and injuries, the report also notes that drivers have taken advantage of emptier streets by maintaining higher speeds.  This in turn resulted in a spike in collisions during recent spells of wet weather in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.

In Los Angeles, officials have moved to counter increased incidents of speeding by retiming traffic lights and stepping up enforcement.