Vehicle accident fatalities dropped slightly in 2019 according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Dec. But the NHTSA also warned that dangerous driving behaviors during the coronavirus pandemic may have increased motor vehicle accidents deaths in 2020.
In 2019, there were 36,096 traffic deaths which was a two percent drop or 739 fewer fatalities than 2018. Most major traffic categories also had declines in 2019 from one year earlier:
- 169 fewer or 2.7 percent drop in pedestrian deaths.
- 568 fewer or 5.3 percent drop in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.
- 630 fewer or 2.8 percent drop in fatalities of passenger car occupants.
- 813 fewer or four percent drop in fatalities in urban areas.
In a supplementary report for the first six months of 2020, the NHTSA projected a drop in crash deaths. But the small gains from 2019 could be lost in 2020, according to the NHTSA, because of dangerous driving during this year’s pandemic.
There are projected increases in fatalities in several categories for 2020. These include deaths from traffic accidents in rural areas, more 16- to 24-year-old victims, greater numbers of risky drivers, more rollovers and ejections, and more fatalities involving occupants of older vehicles.
Because of existing driver-assist and crash-avoidance technologies, according to the Securing America’s Future Energy, these fatality statistics are at unacceptable and epidemic levels. A 2015 study found that greater use of driver assistance technologies could prevent almost 10,000 traffic deaths.
SAFE also called for faster utilization of autonomous vehicles which could reduce accident because 94 percent of accidents are attributed to human error. Other advocacy groups recommended lowering legal alcohol concentration limits and implementation of pedestrian safety plans developed by the federal government.
An attorney can assist accident victims and their families seek compensation from a reckless or negligent motorist. They can pursue these rights in settlement negotiations and legal proceedings.