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Pedestrian and cyclist deaths increased in 2018

Florida readers might be interested to learn that traffic fatalities decreased by 2.4% across the United States in 2018, according to a new report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Further, the traffic accident death rate dropped from 1.17 per 100 million miles driven in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018, which is a decrease of 3.4%.

However, the news isn't so good for vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists. According to the NHTSA report, which was issued on Oct. 22, 6,283 pedestrians were struck and killed by cars in 2018, which represents an increase of 3.4% from 2017. It is also the highest number of pedestrians to be killed since 1990. Meanwhile, 857 cyclists were killed last year, which represents a spike of 6.3%. Worse, deaths among female cyclists skyrocketed 29.2% in 2018. In comparison, deaths among male cyclists went up just 3.2%.

According to traffic safety experts, distracted driving is part of the reason pedestrian and cyclist deaths are increasing. Another problem is that advanced safety technologies, including automatic emergency braking systems, aren't yet sophisticated enough to consistently prevent auto collisions with people and bikes. For example, a study by the American Automobile Association, or AAA, found that AEB systems failed to detect pedestrians crossing the road 60% of the time during daylight testing on a closed track. Studies show that pedestrians and cyclists are even more likely to get hit at night. The NHTSA says it is exploring ways to strengthen its vehicle crash test system to better protect pedestrians and cyclists on the road.

Individuals injured in pedestrian or biking accidents might have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who struck them. Injured victims may be able to learn more about their legal options by consulting with an attorney who handles bicycle and pedestrian claims.

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