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NHTSA report estimates fewer traffic deaths in 2018

Arizona residents should know that 2015 and 2016 saw a spike in the number of motor vehicle crash fatalities: the highest, in fact, since the 1960s. It is a good thing, then, that 2017 and 2018 have both seen a decline in fatalities, slight though they may be. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 37,133 roadway fatalities in 2017: a 2% decrease from 2016. Now, it has predicted a similar dip in its 2018 preliminary report.

Specifically, it estimates 36,750 fatalities for that year: about a 1% decline from 2017. Again, the decline may seem slight, but it is good news considering what has come before. The overall level of road safety has also improved compared to the years prior to 2009. Yet there are still some relatively new trends that must continue to be addressed, such as drivers' distracting use of smartphones and in-vehicle technology.

Though there were fewer vehicle occupants who died in 2018, pedestrians and bicyclists experienced a 10% and 4% increase, respectively, in fatalities. NHTSA believes that urbanization may be part of the problem here. More people moving to cities means more drivers. According to Automotive News, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists made up 33% of all the nation's traffic deaths in 2017. That number was 20% in 1996.

Distracted driving is a growing phenomenon, and it forms the basis for many auto accident claims. Those who are injured by a distracted driver may file a claim seeking reimbursement for their economic and non-economic damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. They may hire a lawyer beforehand, who, in turn, may hire investigators to obtain proof against the defendant. This could be things like phone records and physical evidence at the crash site. The lawyer may then handle all settlement negotiations.

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