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NHTSA Data: Overall Crash Fatalities Down; Pedestrian, Bicycle Deaths Up

New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals both good and bad news for drivers and pedestrians.

The good news is that the agency recorded an overall drop in traffic accident fatalities across the United States in 2018. The bad news is that while there was a drop in the number of people killed in car accidents in the country last year, there was actually an uptick in the number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities during the same period of time.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a 2.4 percent drop in traffic accident deaths in 2018.  There were 36,560 traffic crash fatalities in 2018, compared to 37,473 deaths in 2018.  The fatality rate dropped from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018. This is also the lowest recorded fatality rate in five years.

This marks the second consecutive year that the agency has recorded a decline in traffic accident fatality rates. This is definitely good news, and it’s made better by the fact that accident fatality drops were recorded in almost all categories of accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, drunk driving accidents and rollover accidents.

The credit for this decline in traffic accident frailties is due, in a large part, to the fact that many automobiles now come with safety features  that reduce the risk of accidents, while also doing a better job of protecting the vehicle’s occupants in the event of an accident.  The number of people killed in rollover accidents, for instance, has been steadily declining as more and more SUVs and other large automobiles come equipped with electronic stability control systems, stronger, crush-resistant roofs and other features that reduce the risk of rollovers and protect occupants better.

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is pleased that there has been a decline in overall fatalities, the agency admits that there is still a lot of progress to be made in reducing fatalities even further, and to make the roads safer for all. Despite the lower numbers, there are still many for whom the roads are even more dangerous now. In 2018, there were 6,283 pedestrian accident fatalities, an increase of 3.4 percent.  The total fatality toll for bicyclists in 2018 was 857, an increase of more than 6 percent.

The data shows some common risk factors for both pedestrians and bicyclists. Many of these fatalities occurred in the dark. For pedestrians, the rate of crashes in the dark was a staggering 76 percent. About 50 percent of the bicycle accident fatalities in 2018 also occurred in the dark. Increasing the visibility of pedestrians and bicyclists seems to be an area that authorities should pay more attention to.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also considering upgrades to the 5-star rating system which will be modified to take into consideration protections for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable users of our roads. Not only are their accident risks higher, but their risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries in accidents is also greater compared to occupants of motor vehicles. If you or a loved has suffered injuries in pedestrian accidents, talk to an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and learn how you can begin filing a claim for compensation. Call now to get a free evaluation of your case.