Though the overall number of road-related fatalities in 2019 was 2% lower than the previous year’s figure, motor vehicle fatalities involving at least one truck over 10,000 pounds remained unchanged, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The number of road-related fatalities declined from 36,835 in 2018 to 36,096 in 2019, while large truck fatalities remained flat: 5,006 in 2018 and 5,005 in 2019. The overall road-related fatality rate for 2019 was 1.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, the lowest rate since 2014. (Vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, is calculated by adding up all the miles driven by all the cars and trucks on all roadways.)
Numbers up in 2020
While fatality figures for the first half of 2020 were similar to those in the first half of 2019, fatality numbers rose 13.1% in the third quarter of 2020: 11,260, compared to 9,953 in the same period a year earlier, according to the NHTSA. In the first nine months of 2020, the agency reported 28,190 deaths, up from 26,941 in the first nine months of 2019. The NHTSA will not issue final numbers for 2020 until later in 2021.
The rate of fatalities per miles traveled was also up during the first nine months of 2020 over the same period a year earlier, going from 1.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled to 1.34 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, with rates in August and September 2020 both above 1.50. This is in keeping with reports of an increased incidence of reckless driving.
Victims can file a claim
Drivers who engage in reckless behavior can be held accountable for their actions. They may get a citation or be charged with a crime. Victims can also pursue a lawsuit against another driver to obtain financial compensation for their injuries, lost income while recovering, related medical costs, and other damages.