Drivers in West Virginia should know that motor vehicle crash fatalities saw a slight decline in 2018. This is according to the preliminary report that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released. Annual traffic death numbers, after declining over the decades, rose dramatically in 2015, and by the end of 2016, it seemed certain the numbers would remain high.

NHTSA estimates that 36,750 people died in roadway crashes in 2018: a 1% decrease from the 37,133 deaths reported in 2017. While it is true that the risk of dying in a crash is not as high as it was in 2009 there are new factors that are contributing to the fatalities. One of them is distracting technology.

Another is the growing number of people moving to urban areas. This is seen in the fact that more motor vehicle accidents take place in urban areas than in rural. The trend also puts bicyclists and pedestrians at greater danger. NHTSA estimates that in 2018, there was a 4% rise in bicyclist deaths and 10% increase in pedestrian fatalities.

Data from Automotive News supports this. From 2009 to 2016, for instance, pedestrian deaths went from composing 12% of all traffic deaths in the U.S. to composing 16% of them.

Victims of motor vehicle crashes should know that they will likely be eligible for compensation if they are less than 50% to blame for their injuries. If the other driver was using a smartphone or other device behind the wheel, this could make the case a clear and simple one. Still, it may hard to obtain evidence for a personal injury claim and then file it with the defendant’s auto insurance company. Victims may want a lawyer by their side, especially when it comes to negotiating a settlement.