In its report on 2017 car crash trends, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that there were 37,133 fatal crashes that year: a 1.8 percent decrease and an improvement from 2015 and 2016, which saw an 8.4 and 6.5 percent increase, respectively. Still, the other numbers in the report should raise concerns for drivers in Georgia.

One positive factor is that even when the number of vehicle miles traveled in 2017 went up 1.2 percent, the number of fatalities went down 2.5 percent per 100 million VMT. NHTSA’s preliminary estimates for 2018 show even more promise; a total of 17,120 people died in car crashes in the first six months of 2018, which is 3.1 percent less than the first half of 2017.

Only truck crashes and crashes in urban areas saw an increase in fatalities. Concerning the former, it’s not only large commercial trucks that are putting others in danger: SUVs, which with other light trucks make up over 60 percent of the vehicles that Americans buy each year, registered a 3 percent increase in fatal crashes in 2017.

A rise in VMT has affected the cities, putting bicyclist and pedestrian fatality rates at a 20-year high. Up until 2015, there were more rural deaths than urban deaths. The new trend reflects a fundamental shift in American life, one that will have long-lasting consequences.

Those who survive a car accident and find out that the other party was negligent may consider filing a personal injury claim against that person’s auto insurance company. If successful, they might be compensated for losses that their own insurance company did not cover, such as medical bills and lost income. They may want a lawyer on their side, especially for the process of gathering evidence and negotiating the settlement. As a last resort, the lawyer may prepare for litigation.