After a decades-long decline in motor vehicle accident deaths, 2015 saw a spike in these numbers. Florida residents should know, however, that 2017 and 2018 both saw a decrease, small though it was. There were 37,133 fatalities in 2017, which represented a 2% decrease from 2016. That number went down to 36,750 in 2018, according to a preliminary report that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released in June 2019.
There are concerns that the rise in traffic deaths seen in 2015 may indicate a new trend caused by the proliferation of smartphones and in-vehicle technology. This may be true since distracted driving is a widespread and underreported danger. There is another possible factor, though, and that’s urbanization.
Automotive News has some data to back this up: There are fewer motor vehicle crashes in rural areas. Another result of urbanization is that pedestrians and bicyclists run a higher risk of being struck by vehicles. Automotive News says that whereas pedestrian deaths made up 12% of the nation’s traffic deaths in 2009, they made up 16% of them in 2017.
From 1996 to 2017, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists went from comprising 20% of traffic deaths to 33%. NHTSA reports that 2018 may have seen a 4% uptick in bicyclist deaths and 10% rise in pedestrian fatalities.
Motor vehicle accidents can often form the basis for personal injury claims, so victims who are injured through no fault of their own might be reimbursed for their medical bills, lost income, vehicle damage and other losses. This is where legal representation may come in. Auto insurance companies could aggressively deny the claim or try to force plaintiffs to accept a low-ball settlement. Victims may leave negotiations to their lawyer, taking the case to court as a last resort.