NHTSA reports another alarming rise in road deaths

Human error of one sort or another plays a role in most of the fatal road accidents that occur in Arizona and around the country each year, and a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that driver negligence is largely responsible for a second consecutive year of sobering highway fatality figures. The federal safety agency reported on Oct. 6 that 37,461 people lost their lives in car accidents in 2016, and death rates among pedestrians and motorcyclists were particularly high.

Cellphone use and distracted driving were widely blamed when accident fatalities soared unexpectedly in 2015 after years of steady decline, but the latest NHTSA fatality report reveals that distracted driving deaths actually fell slightly by 2.2 percent in 2016. However deadly accidents involving excessive speed and unrestrained vehicle occupants were both up according to the agency.

However, the most alarming rise in road deaths was among motorcyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 9 percent in 2016 and the number of motorcyclists killed rose by 5.1 percent, and most of these deaths are thought to have been caused by negligent passenger vehicle drivers. The introduction of advanced automobile safety systems has done little to stem the rise in motor vehicle accident fatalities, but road safety advocates hope that fully autonomous cars could one day eliminate crashes caused by human error altogether.

Reckless drivers who cause accidents resulting in catastrophic injury or death are sometimes killed themselves or charged with serious crimes. Accident victims may feel that litigation is impractical when the parties they hope to sue are dead or face long periods of incarceration, but experienced personal injury attorneys could still pursue civil remedies on their behalf by filing lawsuits against the insurance companies or estates of the at-fault motorists.

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  • United States District Court | District Of Arizona
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