Pennsylvania drivers should know that the number of motor vehicle crash fatalities has been decreasing since 2016. In 2017, a total of 37,133 died in these crashes, which represented a 2% decrease from the previous year. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates in a preliminary report that there were 36,750 such fatalities in 2018, a decrease of about 1%.
On the one hand, the numbers are still tragically high. On the other hand, the risk of dying in a motor vehicle crash is not as high as it used to be. However, there are new factors to contend with. The rise of smartphones and in-vehicle technology like voice commands and touchscreens has led to more and more distraction behind the wheel. With urbanization, more people moving to cities.
This second factor may be why NHTSA is particularly concerned about pedestrian and bicyclist safety. In its report, it projects a 4% rise in bicyclist fatalities and a 10% jump in pedestrian deaths in 2018.
According to Automotive News, 33% of all traffic deaths in 2017 were composed of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. In 1996, that number was 20%. Pedestrians made up 12% of all traffic fatalities in 2009 but 16% in 2017. Traffic deaths are burgeoning in urban areas and declining in rural one.
If a traffic accident does not lead to death, it may still result in serious injuries. If it can be established that the incident was caused by the negligence of another motorist, people who have been harmed might want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for their medical bills and other losses.