This is another good news/bad news scenario.
Nearly 36,600 people died on US roadways last year, a decrease of 2.4 percent from 2017, according to recently released figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA). That’s the good news.
Now the bad. Pedestrians and bicyclists are being killed on roadways at an alarming rate. 6,283 pedestrians were killed, which is an increase of 3.4 percent from the previous year and is the highest such number since 1990.
Cyclists are faring even worse: 857 were killed in 2018, an increase of 6.3 percent. Female cyclists are especially at risk: the number of women killed while cycling shot up 29.2 percent in 2018, compared to just 3.2 percent for men.
The rise in pedestrian and cyclist deaths, and the overall decline in traffic fatalities, comes at a time when automakers are rolling out more safety technology, such as automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assistance, and pedestrian detection. New cars now come standard with cameras, radars, and other sensors meant to detect imminent collisions or help drivers avoid danger. In some cases, the car will apply the brakes to avoid a crash if drivers don’t react in time.
Unfortunately, research shows that many of the victims killed by drivers had alcohol in their systems. That’s hardly a surprise. All of the new safety options in the world just won’t work as long as impaired driving is involved.
Cities have been slow to respond to making the necessary improvements to roadways to separate cars from pedestrians and cyclists, and the federal government has largely been absent, focused more on rolling back vehicle emissions standards than helping cities curb traffic fatalities. A bipartisan coalition in Congress just introduced a bill that would make federal funding available to cities for Vision Zero projects aimed at reducing the number of traffic fatalities to zero.
Those of us at Theodoros & Rooth remain extremely concerned about how drinking and driving – and now the increasing use of and other intoxicants while operating a motor vehicle – is deadly.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a careless driver, please contact Theodoros & Rooth right away. We will listen with compassion and understanding. If you have a case, whether a personal injury claim or a wrongful death case, we will represent you aggressively until your case is successfully resolved. There is never a charge for the initial consultation.