After several years of increases in motor vehicle accident fatalities, a new report is showing a minor decline. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018 fatalities due to car accidents were down by one percent in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Motor vehicle fatalities spiked in 2015 and increased through 2017.
Though the total number of deaths has decreased, the NHTSA reports that over 36,000 people still lost their lives in 2018 due to a motor vehicle accident. Many of these deaths are believed to be due to distracted driving or because of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The ultimate goal of the NHTSA is to continue to decrease the number of fatalities that occur across the country every year.
The organization expressed concern especially for cyclists and pedestrians who must share the roadways with vehicles. Preliminary data for cyclists deaths indicates a 10 percent increase in 2018 and a four percent increase for pedestrians. Experts believe that the increase in pedestrian and cycling deaths is because of a recent surge in people moving to urbanized areas. In 2009, pedestrian deaths only accounted for 12 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. This number gradually rose to 16 percent in 2017. Motor vehicle crashes in urbanized areas increased during this same time while accidents decreased in rural areas.
Motor vehicle accidents can cause lifelong injuries and impairments that need ongoing medical care. Those who lose their life in a motor vehicle accident may leave a family behind. Drivers who caused an accident by behaving negligently may be responsible for damages. A lawyer may be able to help a family impacted by a motor vehicle fatality collect medical and compensatory damages by showing that the driver was distracted or otherwise impaired at the time of the crash.