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Traffic deaths declined overall in 2018

There was a slight decrease in the number of traffic accident deaths that occurred in 2018 compared to 2017. Data also showed that there was a 3% decrease in the number of fatalities per 100 million miles driven in 2018. Since 1975, that figure has dropped from 3.4 deaths per 100 million miles traveled to just 1.1 in 2018. However, there was an increase of pedestrians and cyclists who were killed on roadways in Pennsylvania and throughout the country.

The increase in pedestrian and cyclist deaths may cause the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to adopt new crash test standards. These guidelines would be similar to those already in use in Europe that account for accidents involving pedestrians and other groups. This would likely be included as part of an overall upgrade to crash testing and other safety standards. The NHTSA is going to draft a proposal that would be open to public comment in 2020.

Proposed new standards will also likely result in new crash test dummies as well as grades being assigned to pedestrian detection systems. Despite the nationwide decrease in crash deaths, there was actually an increase in New Hampshire and Oregon. Traffic deaths went up by 44% in New Hampshire while increasing 15% in Oregon. They were the only two states in which traffic fatalities went up by 10% or more.

The families of individuals who are killed in traffic accidents may be entitled to file wrongful death lawsuits, which may allow surviving parents, spouses or siblings to obtain compensation from the people who caused the accidents that led to their loved ones' deaths. Compensation may help pay for lost wages or future earnings or, in the case of the victim's death, his or her final expenses. It may also help finance educational or other expenses a victim's child may incur.

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