When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its massive study of fatal traffic accidents in the year 2018, it revealed good news and bad news. The agency found a 2.4% decline in fatalities, the second year in a row of declines. This was very good news indeed. However, the 2018 statistics also showed alarming increases to the fatality rates for pedestrians and cyclists.
According to the NHTSA, pedestrian fatalities rose by 3.4% in 2018. Fatalities among cyclists, including bicyclists and other non-motorized vehicles, rose by a shocking 6.3%.
Researchers aren’t entirely sure how to explain how these types of accidents led to more fatalities while overall traffic accident fatalities declined. The NHTSA attributed the decreased fatality numbers partly to the increasing presence of advanced safety features in newer cars and trucks. Better designed vehicles and devices such as airbags offer increased protection to occupants of cars and trucks.
However, these new safety features don’t necessarily protect pedestrians and bicyclists, who are just as exposed and vulnerable to a collision as they ever were. Perhaps more people walked or biked to work last year, and this led to more fatal pedestrian and bicyclist accidents.
Another thing that has not changed is the duty of every driver to exercise reasonable care in order to avoid the risk of causing injury to others. A driver who breaches this duty, whether it’s by texting while driving, speeding or some other careless act, commits negligence. When a negligent driver causes an accident that causes injury to another person, the injured may hold the negligent driver liable for their damages. These damages can include medical expenses, lost income and more. In the case of a fatal accident, the victim’s immediate family members can file a suit to recover their damages.
People who have been injured, or who have lost a loved one, in an auto-pedestrian or auto-bicycle accident can learn about their legal options by speaking to an attorney who has experience in personal injury law.