The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced its final 2018 tally of both nationwide traffic fatalities overall, as well as numbers for certain segments. There was both good news and bad news in these latest statistics about traffic fatalities.
The good news is that, overall, the number of traffic deaths on the country’s roads was in decline for the second year in a row. The number of fatalities in 2018 was 36,560, a drop of 2.4%, or 913 deaths, from 2017. Another piece of good news is that the fatality rate per miles driven dropped to the lowest it has been since 2014. The fatality rate per 100 million miles driven in 2018 was 1.13, a 3.4% decrease. The significance of this number is that it means that there have been fewer tragic deaths on the road even though people are traveling more.
However, for pedestrians and bicyclists, the news was not so great. The number of pedestrian deaths climbed again this year, up to 6,283 total pedestrian fatalities. This was an increase of just under 3.5% over 2017. Likewise, 857 people died while riding a bicycle or other manually-powered vehicle. This number was 6.3% higher than it was in 2017.
Overall, the number of people who died in bicycle or pedestrian accidents in 2018 was at its highest point since 1990. Pedestrian in particular have been hit hard of late, with the number of fatalities increasing 42% over the last 10 years.
While there are signs that the roads in and around Austin are getting safer overall, there is still a lot of work to be done. In particular, drivers in Texas must continue to pay attention to the road and drive at an appropriate speed when on residential streets, at intersections and pretty much anywhere pedestrians may be close to the road. If they fail in these simple obligations and hurt or kill someone as a result, they may be legally liable.