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NSC: 2018 exceeds 40,000 traffic deaths for third straight year

The National Safety Council has reported that 2018 saw a 1 percent decrease in traffic deaths from 2017, which saw 40,231 deaths, but that the number still exceeded 40,000. It is the third year in a row to do so and represents a startling 14 percent jump from traffic death rates in 2014. Also, about 4.5 million people were seriously injured in crashes in 2018. New York residents should know that driver behavior is one factor in this trend.

Specifically, distracted driving contributed to an estimated 8 percent of crashes in 2018, and drowsy driving was involved in 2 percent of crashes. Compared to a decade ago, more drivers are using smartphones or in-dash infotainment systems in the car. However, traffic death rates varied from state to state and from year to year. Maine, Kansas, New Jersey, Wyoming and Rhode Island saw a decline of more than 9.4 percent in traffic deaths in 2018.

Advanced safety tech, which is more prominent than it was a decade ago, is still found in a minority of vehicles. In 2018, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began to test the performance of automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection tech since current systems on the market vary in their capabilities in real-world situations. Some automakers, such as Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, are focusing on cyclist and pedestrian detection tech.

Many car crashes are due to driver negligence, including not only drowsy or distracted driving but also speeding and driving under the influence. Accident victims, even if they are partially to blame, may be able to file a claim against the other party's auto insurance company. It may be wise to consult with an attorney and hire him or her for the filing and for the negotiations. If a settlement cannot be achieved, the lawyer may prepare the case for court.

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