For many drivers in Montana, the reported decline in roadway deaths in 2018 is relieving news pointing to greater safety on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 35,560 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions last year, a 2.4% decline over 2017 figures, which themselves reflected a decrease over the prior year. According to the NHTSA, these positive statistics are continuing with the first half of 2019 showing a 3.4% decline in highway fatalities. At the same time, however, pedestrians and cyclists may have additional cause for concern.
The NHTSA also reported that 6,283 pedestrians were killed in car crashes in 2018, an increase of 3.4% over 2017 figures. It also represents the largest single number of pedestrians killed since 1990. According to researchers at “Consumer Reports,” pedestrian deaths dropped until 2009 but have risen 53% since that time. There were also 6.3% more cyclists who died in motor vehicle accidents in 2018 for a total of 857. The agency reported that it was looking into reasons for these pedestrian and cyclist deaths, including the prevalence of SUVs. It may be more difficult for motorists to see lone walkers in a taller vehicle.
Trucking accidents were another point of contention. Fatalities linked to truck crashes rose by 1% in 2018, taking 4,951 lives. Safety advocates said that trucking standards need to be made stronger despite proposals from political figures to loosen restrictions on the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to work in one day. They said that truck driver fatigue poses a major threat to roadway safety.
Car accidents can lead to catastrophic, life-changing injuries and the associated medical bills and lost wages. People harmed in motor vehicle accidents caused by another person’s negligent driving may contact a personal injury lawyer about pursuing compensation for their damages.