The number of fatalities among drivers and passengers in car accidents in Colorado and across the country declined in 2018. While this seems like good news, it came alongside other disturbing statistics that show that pedestrian and cyclist deaths are continuing to rise. The data are prompting some advocates and agencies to consider more stringent safety standards to protect walkers and bikers on the road. During 2018, over 36,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes across the country. This number represents a small decline from 2017, but it also still indicates a serious problem with roadway safety.
Roadway fatalities declined in 2008 and remained flat until a spike in 2015. The decline in 2018 represents a 2% decrease in deaths over the 2017 figures, a total of 913 fewer fatalities. Fewer people are dying in comparison to the number of miles driven, especially compared to statistics from the 1970s. However, there were 6,283 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2018, a 3% increase from the prior year. In 2018, 857 cyclists’ lives were also taken, representing a 6% increase in fatalities over 2017. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into systemic solutions to help protect people walking and biking on the road.
By updating crash-test standards to include pedestrian-impact tests, the NHTSA would bring car safety standards in the U.S. more in line with those used in other countries, such as most European nations, where biking and walking are very popular. The NHTSA is also looking into other ways to improve vehicle safety, including developing new crash-test dummies and standards for emergency braking.
People killed in car crashes leave behind devastated loved ones and lost futures. A personal injury lawyer may help these families pursue wrongful death claims for their damages.