There has been some progress when it comes to the number of road fatalities, but not nearly enough. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fewer people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 than in 2016, a drop of 1.8 percent.
The trends for the first half of 2018 also offer more optimism: 3.1 percent fewer traffic deaths than in the first half of 2017.
This is worth noting, considering total deaths were up 6.5 percent in 2016 and 8.4 percent in 2015. The decrease is the first since 2013, according to the NHTSA.
Fatalities have dropped in just about all segments of the driving population, except for crashes involving SUVs and large trucks.
Any good news cannot overshadow the reality on the road
There were 37,133 people killed in crashes last year. The number so far this year is 17,120 fatalities.
In particular, pedestrians remain especially at risk. In 2017, approximately 5,977 people were killed, according to the NHTSA, the second-highest number in the previous 27 years. It was only exceeded in 2016 by 6,080 deaths.
Heidi King, the deputy administrator for the NHTSA, said that distracted, drugged and drunk drivers are the big reasons why the death toll on roads remains so high, Andrew J. Hawkins wrote in The Verge. The number of people killed or riding in SUVs rose 3 percent in 2017. SUVs and light trucks make up over 60 percent of the cars bought by Americans each year.
“But while it is undeniably dangerous to be inside an SUV, it’s exponentially more deadly to be outside of one,” King said.
Understanding SUVs and pedestrian accidents
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of pedestrians killed in crashes that involve SUVs is up 81 percent in the last decade.
Hawkins noted that the size and design of the SUV is a major factor. “Larger bodies and higher carriage mean pedestrians are more likely to suffer deadly blows to the torso,’’ he wrote. “And higher clearance means victims are more likely to get trapped underneath a speeding SUV instead of pushed onto the hood or off to the side. Speed is also a factor because SUVs have more horsepower than a typical sedan.’’
If you have been injured in an auto accident in Alabama, contact Dean Waite Attorneys at Law in Mobile for legal help.