Particularly with respect to pedestrian deaths but for other types of accidents as well, there has been a lot of focus on the fact the number of traffic fatalities has been trending upward across the country, even in the face of advancing automobile technology.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, the final numbers for 2017 are going to show some modest progress in turning back this disturbing trend. At 37,133 deaths, the number of fatalities for 2017 was down 1.8 percent over 2016.
Of course, over 37,000 deaths on the road should not be acceptable to anyone. Moreover, this figure does not necessarily mean that the country is back on the road to improved traffic safety. For instance, between 2014 and 2015, the number of traffic deaths increase by over 8 percent. In the 2015 and 2016 period, that number was 6.5 percent.
In other words, the number of fatalities may have fallen in 2017, but the increase fatalities between 2014 and 2016, at least in terms of percentages, outweighs the decrease.
Still, it was encouraging that in terms of miles driven, there were 1.2 percent fewer accidents in 2017. This came about despite the fact that Americans are driving more miles, not fewer, on the roads, meaning that collisions are more likely.
The numbers for 2018, which are only estimates, are also promising. If they hold, further decreases in the fatality rate are likely.
Still, the reality is that many Portland, Oregon, residents, and those in the surrounding metro area, will experience the sudden loss of a loved one due to a car accident. Should this happen, a family will need to think about their legal options.