The number of traffic accident fatalities in the United States is at its lowest since 1949. According to a news report in The Associated Press, deaths of bicyclists and occupants of large trucks increased significantly despite the overall reduction in the rate of traffic fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that traffic fatalities dropped 1.9 percent to 32,367 in the year 2011. That is the lowest fatality rate ever recorded with 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. However, you wouldn’t know it from reviewing the number of fatal bicycle accident and truck occupant fatalities.
Bicycle fatalities jumped up 8.7 percent in the year 2011. The Associated Press report says that this increase may be a reflection of the increase in the number of bicyclists on the roadway. In cities such as Washington, D.C., which has recently added bike lanes, the number of bike riders has increased by 175 percent since 2004.
While it is easy to equate an increase in the number of bicyclists with more bicycle fatalities, it is more difficult to determine why there was such an increase in truck occupant fatalities. The number of fatally injured large truck occupants increased by 20 percent last year. Some experts say that the economy is improving and therefore there are more large trucks on the roadway. Others wonder if the recent increases in speed limits on major highways have led to more fatal truck accidents.
It is important to note that motorcycle deaths rose in the year 2011 as well. This is not a surprise, however, as motorcycle deaths have risen 13 of the last 14 years. The trend continued last year as motorcycle fatalities increased 2.1 percent.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal crash, an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta at the Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C. can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Please contact us at (404) 995-3955 for a free and comprehensive consultation.