The number of motor vehicle accident deaths fell for the second year in a row, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which recently released its findings for 2018. Traffic fatalities fell by 2.4% last year, according to the NHTSA. Preliminary findings for the first half of 2019 suggest the downward trend is continuing.

Unfortunately, the NHTSA reported an alarming rise in auto-pedestrian and auto-bicycle accident deaths. Fatal pedestrian accidents rose 3.4% last year, according to the agency. Fatalities on bikes and other pedal-powered vehicles rose 6.3%.

Researchers noted that motor vehicle accident deaths increased in the earlier part of the decade as the economy slowly recovered from the housing market crash and recession of 2008-2009. A stronger market typically means more cars on the road, and more cars on the road typically means more car accidents.

Researchers theorized that the past two years’ falling rates are partially due to improved safety features in newer cars. However, these features don’t always help pedestrians and people on bikes. Interior safety features such as airbags protect people inside cars, but a pedestrian has no such protection when struck by a moving car.

When a negligent driver injures a pedestrian, the injured can hold the driver liable for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and more. Because pedestrians are so vulnerable in these accidents, their total amount of damages can be very high. Their medical bills will likely be extremely expensive, and if they are permanently injured, they may face a lifetime of lost or diminished wages. It is important that they seek out help from an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help them maximize their recovery.