North Carolina residents may have heard that the number of road users killed around the country fell slightly in 2018, but pedestrian and cyclist deaths rose sharply. Data released by the National Highway Traffic Administration reveals that 36,560 people died on the nation’s roads in 2018, which represents a 2% decline over grim 2017 figures. However, pedestrian deaths rose by 3% to 6,283 and cyclist fatalities increased by 6% to 857.

The worrying pedestrian and cyclist fatality figures are likely to increase calls for more thorough crash-test standards. Accident survivability tests are currently not as rigorous in the United States as they are in Europe. NHTSA says that it plans to publish a proposed update to its crash-test standards in 2020 that will better determine how vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists would fare in an accident. Updates the agency is said to be pushing for include formal ratings for pedestrian detection and emergency braking systems.

In North Carolina, total traffic fatalities rose by 1.8% to 1,437 in 2018 according to the NHTSA data. Drunk driving deaths in the Tar Heel State rose by a worrying 5% to 421. Across the country, 29% of all road deaths were related to alcohol in 2018. The figures also reveal that almost half of the road users killed were not wearing a seat belt when they died.

The dependent family members of individuals killed in motor vehicle accidents caused by negligent drivers may pursue civil remedies by filing wrongful death lawsuits. When the reckless motorist responsible was also killed or faces years in prison on vehicular manslaughter or homicide charges, experienced personal injury attorneys may initiate this kind of litigation against their auto insurance companies or their estates. Attorneys could seek damages in wrongful death lawsuits to compensate their clients for expenses like medical bills and funeral costs and the lost income of a breadwinner.