NHTSA: 2018 sees slight improvement in crash death numbers

For decades, the number of roadway fatalities had been going down. When the number spiked in 2015 and 2016, many thought that a new trend had begun, linking it to the proliferation of smartphones and other distracting technology, among other factors. In 2017, there was a 2% dip from the previous year with 37,133 fatalities in Texas and across the U.S.

Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its preliminary report on 2018 and found that this year, too, saw a slight decline: There were 36,750 people who died in motor vehicle crashes, about 1% less than in 2017. While this does not dispel the concern about distracted driving, it is still good news. One expert, contrasting the years 2009 and 2016, said that drivers in 2016 are overall safer than they were prior to 2009.

For pedestrians and bicyclists, though, the preliminary report tells a different story. Pedestrian and bicyclist deaths are estimated to have gone up 10% and 4%, respectively. Part of the reason may be urbanization: More people are moving to the cities, which means more drivers.

Automotive News has data supporting this. Accident rates are increasing in cities and decreasing in rural regions. Pedestrian deaths, which composed 12% of all traffic deaths in 2009, composed 16% of them in 2017.

Regardless of trends, negligent drivers will always cause motor vehicle accidents. Whether the cause was smartphone use, fatigue or intoxication, those who are injured through little to no fault of their own may be eligible for compensation. Seeking it means filing a personal injury claim against the guilty driver's insurance company. Victims may want to retain legal counsel because the process can be fraught with difficulties. A lawyer might negotiate on their behalf for a reasonable settlement.

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