Police Officer using radio of the police car with ambulance in the background | non-occupant fatality ratesLast year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its annual Roadway Fatalities Report, which presented an overview of data compiled by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System over calendar year 2018. There was good news. For the second consecutive year in a row, there was a reduction in the overall number of motor vehicle accident fatalities. 

Also available now is the data from the first nine months of 2019, and based on the numbers for that year, it’s looking like 2019 could quite possibly be the third consecutive year. That’s more good news. 

But, while the overall fatality rate seems to be declining, and while fatality rates among the drivers and passengers of what are considered light vehicles were down, the data suggests a different story when it comes to the drivers of large trucks, pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-occupants. 

According to the numbers from 2018, the pedestrian fatality rate rose 3.4%, while the fatality rate for bicyclists saw a much bigger increase at 6.3%. For the drivers of large trucks, the increase was fairly small at 0.8%, but it was still an increase.

The NHTSA also noted that the proportion of people killed ‘outside the vehicle’, including pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle riders, increased from it’s 1996 low of 20% to a new high of 34% in 2018. That means that, while overall the number of road deaths decreased by 2.4%, there is a disturbing increase in non-occupant fatality rates

Keep in mind that 36,560 people died in traffic accidents in 2018, so we’re not talking about inconsequential numbers here. If there is a segment of the population that is actually seeing an increase in the fatality rate, it’s a very real cause for concern. 

The NHTSA does not, in the report, give a definite reason as to why non-occupant fatalities seem to be on an uptick, but that data does suggest possible causes. 

As urban areas become more and more densely populated, and as the popularity of alternative forms of transportation such as bicycling grows, you can reasonably expect to see an increase in these types of accidents. Statistically, more people riding bikes means a probable rise in bike accidents. And as more and more people pack into the same urban areas, all trying to move around and go about their lives, the likelihood that they’re going to come into contact with each other, in one way or another, increases. 

According to the NHTSA, pedestrian fatalities in urban areas have increased 69% since 2009, with bicyclists deaths in urban areas increasing 48% for the same time frame. 

Keep in mind, every year there are more and more cars on the road that feature new, cutting edge automated safety systems designed to detect possible objects that might be collided with, and stop the vehicle before that can happen. 

If there are more and more vehicles designed to stop non-occupant collisions before they happen, why do non-occupant accidents appear to be increasing in number? One likely answer is distracted driving. 

To help curb the very dangerous problem of distracted driving, lawmakers in Washington are suggesting potential solutions above and beyond existing laws governing distracted driving. 

These include everything from adjustments to the way that streets are designed and laid out, to actually requiring softer bumpers and noses on vehicles. And state and local lawmakers are looking at things that can be done on a more local level as well. 

But there is one important thing that we can all do right away: not drive distracted. Put your phone down and keep your eyes on the road. You’ll not only save yourself the great deal of trouble and pain experienced by drivers who accidentally hurt someone, you could also possibly save a human life.

Contact Our Lakewood Car Accident Lawyers Today

Paysinger Law, P.C.After a car accident, you need a law firm in your corner that can fight the insurance companies and protect your rights. Insurance companies do not want to pay accident victims what they need – and deserve. That is why injured accident victims need to call an attorney as soon as they are injured. Call the family-run, Lakewood personal injury law firm of Paysinger Law, P.C., and see the difference that family makes. 

We offer free initial consultations so you can review all of your legal options. Call us at 303.279.0221 or fill out our confidential contact form on this page. We are ready to fight for you and your rights to compensation. Call today!

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Thank you so much for all of your hard work. I think you did a great job! I will definitely pass your name along to anyone I know who’s hurt for the free consultation.

Roy Miller

I don’t know where I would be without the Law Offices of Robert Paysinger. It was a very emotional experience, and I feel as if I owe Mr. Paysinger my life! The other lawyers would promise everything, but it was only here that I felt his integrity and willingness to live up to his word. He and the paralegals were so incredibly helpful throughout the strenuous process of my case. Going through a lawsuit is an emotional roller coaster, but whenever I was confused they would sit and explain everything in terms that I could understand. They provided an emotional support and treated me like family. It’s never about the money there, but about you, if you are upset they will do everything to help you, and work extremely hard for you. They are extremely honest and straight forward. I would recommend Mr. Paysinger to everyone, because they truly and genuinely care about you.

Tammy Wonder

At the Law Offices of Robert Paysinger, I was very pleased with the professionalism and courteousness of everyone who worked on my case. I had a horrible experience with my boss and dealing with my company regarding my workman’s comp. I came to the Paysinger Law Offices and received a settlement for what was needed to further my medical care so that I can heal and get back to work. He defended my rights when they were violated and I am very happy with the results! Thank you!

Michelle Bishop

I, James Pacho, appreciate everything that the Law Offices of Robert Paysinger, PC. For the help of making me get the amount of money I received including reducing my hospital bills, helping to get me a home.

James E. Pacho

Thanks to Robert Paysinger and Thomas Quinn for the hard work with my case. You guys are excellent and I will recommend you to everybody else. Keep doing an excellent job.

Ago Muric

Thank you so much for all the hard work to Robert and his staff. I was very happy with all their services.

Shannon Norgren

Thanks, Robert, for all the help with my accidents (both of them). You always promptly returned my calls and were extremely helpful whenever I had questions. After my motorcycle accident, you helped me understand how to better protect myself in the future, and because of that when I got in my car accident a year later, you were the only person I considered calling.

James Howington


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