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Highway deaths decrease in 2018, pedestrian deaths rise

For the second year in a row, highways deaths in Missouri and across the country fell. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, highway deaths decreased by 2.4% in 2018. In 2017, the numbers fell 2% from the previous year. The decline comes after years of steady increases in motorist fatalities. Experts blamed the booming economy, which resulted in more drivers on the road than ever before, on the increase.

Unfortunately, the NHTSA data also reveals that pedestrian deaths rose 3.4% in 2018. Pedestrian deaths have risen 53% since 2009 and are now at an all-time high. The majority of pedestrian fatalities occur outside of intersections. Some experts believe that increased usage of SUVs may be to blame. When driving an SUV, the driver sits higher than smaller cars and trucks. The angle may make it difficult for drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians who are on the road.

A spokesman for the NHTSA said that though highway fatalities decreased, there is still much room for improvement. Fatalities on the road due to distracted driving are an increasing concern. Lawmakers and safety advocates are working together to pass laws that will prohibit drivers from using their cellphones while a vehicle is in use in hopes of decreasing distracted driving.

Many drivers glance away from the road for a brief period of time to answer a text or check an email on their phone. Unfortunately, distracted driving kills thousands of individuals each year. When a person chooses to drive distracted and causes a car accident, they may have behaved negligently and be responsible for damages. For example, a lawyer may be able to use cellphone records to prove that a driver was on their phone at the time of the accident. The driver may then be responsible for medical and compensatory damages to the injured parties.