Good News, Bad News for Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents

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Walkers, bike riders and those in crashes with commercial trucks all had something tragic in common in 2018: more of them died in traffic accidents than the year prior.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its report on fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2018. While there was some good news – an overall drop in traffic fatalities of 2.4% over 2017 – it has to be put into some perspective.  The NHTSA reports that even with that drop 36,560 people died in car crashes and commercial truck accidents in 2018.

According to the NHTSA, bicyclist deaths increased by 6% in 2018.

Another category that rose was pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes.  Pedestrian deaths climbed 3.4% in final 2018 reporting.  The total number in 2018 was the nation’s highest since 1990.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, a group of highway safety officers from each state, published an early report (“Spotlight on Safety: Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State 2018 Preliminary Data”) on 2018’s rise of pedestrian deaths in February 2019.

Jump in Pedestrians Hit and Killed by Motor Vehicles

The GHSA report showed that fatal pedestrian crash deaths in Missouri increased 2% from 2017 to 2018.

The report noted that U.S. walker deaths have jumped some 35% between 2008 and 2017 and suggested possible reasons for a steady increase on pedestrians hit and killed by motor vehicles.  They include:

·         An increasing number of drivers distracted by their cell phones

·         Rising sales of larger SUVs compared to smaller passenger cars

The NHTSA data also revealed a 13% spike in pedestrians struck and killed by commercial trucks in 2018 over the year prior.

Fatal 18-Wheeler Crashes Increase for Fourth Consecutive Year

The number of total fatal crashes involving big rigs increased for the fourth year in a row. Last year 4,951 people were killed in commercial truck wrecks.

Why do fatal commercial truck crashes continue to climb?

There are more 18-wheelers on the road today, thanks in large part to an explosion of online shopping.  These goods need to be shipped throughout the country, which requires large trucks.

More trucks on the road increase the odds for more dangerously fatigued truck drivers behind the wheel. Hours of service rules to limit the number of consecutive hours truckers can drive and provide mandatory rest periods was one solution offered by the federal government. They’ve since been watered down.

A federal rule requiring drivers to record these hours electronically rather than in paper books is another effort to block tired truckers from causing catastrophic crashes.  This electronic logging device mandate took effect December 2017, but has not been actively enforced. It appears, however, the federal government will stick to its December 2019 deadline for full ELD compliance by all big rigs.

While causes of bike rider and pedestrian deaths may be a little more difficult to pinpoint, the reasons for commercial truck crash deaths are more readily identifiable.  And so many point to dangerous or carless actions by truck drivers.

If you lost a family member in a crash involving a commercial tractor-trailer, speak with a truck accident attorney about pursuing your legal rights to just compensation from all those responsible.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog November 14, 2019


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