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US Traffic Deaths Dropping in 2019

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued data about fatalities on our highways during the first half of the year. US Traffic Deaths Dropping in 2019 - Altizer Law PC

  • A total of 36,560 people died in traffic accidents last year. This was down 2.4 percent from 2017.
  • Fatalities declined for accidents involving motorcycles,  passenger cars, pickup trucks, sports utility vehicles and vans all declined, despite a 0.3 percent increase in number of miles driven.
  • Through the first half of this year, an estimated 16,890 people died in traffic accidents. This is a 3.4% decrease from the same period last year.
  • Deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists each rose to 28-year highs last year. The number of people killed in large trucks also rose by 0.8%, the most since 1988.

The acting administrator of the NHTSA attributes these decreases to vehicles equipped with advanced crash avoidance technologies. He also pointed to the agency’s efforts to encourage seat belt use, to curtail speeding, and to stop impaired or distracted driving.

Comparative statistics for the nation as a whole tell an interesting story. But it is important to ask if the trends noted are also true in Virginia. We gathered Virginia traffic fatality data (“unofficial”) for the first six months of 2018 and 2019.

  2018   2019
  Crashes Fatalities Injuries   Crashes Fatalities Injuries
All crashes 62,253 389 31,552   60,925 386 31,517
Alcohol-Related 3,537 135 2,219   3,456 106 2,106
Speed Related 12,524 167 6,473   11,950 164 6,522


Pedestrian Involved 712 52 838   777 59 906
Bicycle Involved 276 6 310   285 5 324
Large truck Involved 1,173 23 574   1,250 24 618


James Gilboy wrote at that in May of 2018, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) attributed this trend (increasing pedestrian fatalities) to the increased popularity of SUVs and crossovers. The number of pedestrians killed after being hit by one of these vehicles nearly doubled in the seven-year period between 2009 and 2016. The IIHS noted that the higher hood lines of these vehicles are more likely to cause chest or head injuries.

In Virginia, as shown in the table above, the statistics about pedestrian-involved crashes are disturbing, as are those regarding bicycle-involved accidents. There may not be a simple single-factor explanation for these rising fatality statistics. And it is certainly possible that a solution to the problem might include additional education about safety and about the importance of obeying safety rules and road markings. Finally, there may be a need to analyze the number of pedestrians killed outside of a crosswalk or a corner. It may be worthwhile to review bicyclist behaviors (riding between lanes of traffic, failing to stop at all intersections, or other risky behaviors).

At all times, it is clearly incumbent upon us to drive as safely as possible and to be particularly aware of pedestrians and bicycles on the road.

If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident involving a pedestrian or a bicyclist, and through no fault of your own, call Altizer Law, P.C. We will meet with you in a free initial consultation to discuss your injuries and losses, as well as the details of the accident. Bettina Altizer and her team of experts have helped people injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of others for more than 30 years. We understand the losses you might experience after an auto, truck or motorcycle accident, and we fight for you because we know that when you are trying to rebuild your life, it’s about the money.