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3 areas with the highest increase in traffic fatality rates

Car accidents are horrific events, but the good news is that the rates of deadly collisions have gone down. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a 2.4% decrease in traffic fatalities from 2017 to 2018. Occupants of passenger cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, motorcycles and vans all had fewer deaths. There were also lower instances of fatalities from speeding, rollover crashes and alcohol impairment. 

Despite the overall improvement, these three categories saw an increase in deaths in the last year, especially in urban locations. 

1. Cyclists

Cycling has boomed in popularity in urban places and locales with warm weather, of which Southern California has both. However, not all streets are cyclist friendly, and many motorists lack the knowledge of how to share the road with bicycles. Distraction also plays a role in drivers not seeing cyclists. These factors may have contributed to the 6.3% rise in cyclist fatalities and to the highest number of these deaths since 1990. 

2. Pedestrians

Also in more danger are those who walk. Pedestrian deaths had an increase of 3.4% and also the largest quantity since 1990. Most accidents occur at nonintersections and during dark hours, so avoiding these two risk factors may help lower the numbers in the future. 

3. Large trucks

More semi-trucks are on California roads, mainly due to the growing trend of online shopping for almost everything. The increase in trucks has led to 0.9% more fatalities, with occupants of semis experiencing the most deaths since 1988. The biggest upward changes occurred specifically in single-vehicle collisions (1.9%) and with those not in vehicles (9.7%). This may mean that large trucks are a significant factor in the higher death rates of pedestrians and cyclists. 

It is positive that overall traffic deaths have decreased after steady increases the years before. However, the nation has more work to do in providing better safety to those who walk and ride bikes.