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Traffic Fatalities Declining in Most Statistical Categories

Posted on in Car Accidents

Traffic Fatalities Declining in Most Statistical CategoriesThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported that 36,560 people were killed as a result of motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. in 2018. While any amount of traffic deaths is tragic, the 2018 number was actually a 2.4 percent decrease from 2017. Though not always steady, the number of motor vehicle fatalities reported each year has decreased by almost 18 percent since 1975. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is a third of what it was in 1975, which is more impressive when you consider that the annual VMT has more than doubled since then. In other words, Americans are driving more than ever and still decreasing the number of traffic deaths. There are other findings from the NHTSA report that are worth exploring.

Why the Decrease?

There are several explanations for why the rate of traffic fatalities has decreased in the last 40 years:

  • There have been effective public awareness campaigns about wearing safety belts and avoiding impaired driving.
  • Enforcing traffic laws, such as tickets for not wearing a safety belt, has discouraged the risky behavior.
  • Vehicles are better designed to avoid accidents and protect occupants in the event of a crash.
  • Emergency response systems and medical technology have improved, saving more lives.

Even with an overall decline in fatalities, there are clusters of years when the number of motor vehicle deaths has increased. For instance, the number of fatalities increased by 8.4 percent in 2015 and 6.5 percent in 2016. One possible explanation could be the rising use of handheld digital devices, which increased distracted driving.

Areas of Increase

The NHTSA report created subcategories of traffic death data, based on factors such as vehicle type and the number of vehicles involved. Of the many subcategories, only three had increases in fatalities from 2017 to 2018:

  • The deaths of large truck occupants increased by 0.8 percent.
  • Pedestrian deaths increased by 3.4 percent.
  • Cyclist deaths increased by 6.3 percent.

Large truck occupant and cyclist deaths are each less than 900 people per year, which are the lowest totals among the subcategories. In crashes involving large trucks, more than four times as many people in other vehicles died as people inside the trucks. The increase in pedestrian deaths fits with the fact that pedestrian deaths make up a larger percentage of the total vehicle-related deaths than 10 years ago.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

The decrease in vehicle fatalities may mean that more people are surviving vehicle crashes, but that does not change the cost of recovering from serious injuries. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, works with vehicle crash victims to get them the compensation they need. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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