Louisiana motorists may be pleased to hear that a preliminary report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that the total number of traffic deaths nationwide dropped by 1% during 2018. With a few exceptions, the number of car accident fatalities has declined steadily year over year for decades, but the data at the end of 2016 seemed to be cause for concern that U.S. roadways were growing more dangerous. Then 2017 saw a 2% drop in the number of traffic deaths and the NHTSA report suggests that a similar but smaller decline occurred in 2018.

The agency estimated that 36,750 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2018, which would represent a drop of around 1% when compared to the 2017 total of 37,133. The NHTSA also raised concerns about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists and projected that pedestrian fatalities rose by 4% in 2018 and that bicycle related fatalities rose by 10%. The increased danger to pedestrians may be the result of more people moving into cities.

In 2009, pedestrian fatalities made up 12% of all traffic deaths nationwide. By 2017, that statistic had increased to 16%. Fatalities of people who were inside motor vehicles reached a peak at 80% of all traffic fatalities in the year 1996 and fell to 67% by 2017. The urbanization trend was visible here too, as the number of fatalities rose in urban areas and fell in rural ones.

People who are injured in car accidents caused by another driver may be entitled to recover for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. An attorney could attempt to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault motorist’s insurer or file a lawsuit if the offer is inadequate.