Newly released statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) show alcohol-related fatalities fell by 3.6% across the United States in 2018. However, Wisconsin saw a more than 5% increase in traffic deaths where alcohol was a factor.

The total number of deaths (588) on Wisconsin roadways in 2018 decreased compared to 2017, which saw 613 fatalities, but alcohol-related deaths rose from 189 to 199, amounting to a 5.3% increase. Nearly 11,000 people died in drunk driving crashes across the nation.

Key findings from the 2018 NHTSA report

NHTSA says, overall, traffic fatalities decreased in 2018 after a slight increase the year before. Other significant results include:

  • 36,560 people died in motor vehicle crashes, a 2.4% decrease from 2017
  • Cyclist deaths rose by 6.3%
  • Pedestrian deaths rose by 3.4%
  • Semitruck crash deaths increased by 0.8%
  • Speeding-related deaths fell by 5.7%
  • Motorcyclist deaths decreased by 4.7%

Report highlights disturbing trends for pedestrians and cyclists

Nationally, despite the good news that traffic deaths declined last year, the survey shows deaths for more vulnerable road users like bicyclists and pedestrians are increasing at an alarming rate. More pedestrians were killed in 2018 than at any time since 1990.

Highway safety advocates say distracted drivers are often to blame and that a higher percentage of SUVs and large pickups on the road are also a significant factor. But they also point to a failure of federal, local and state governments to upgrade roads, create more bike paths in urban areas and increase safety measures at traffic lights and crosswalks.

Protect yourself if you are injured

While the decline in fatalities is good news, hundreds of thousands of people are injured in traffic accidents across the nation each year and many receive permanent or long-lasting injuries that also bring severe financial consequences. If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, an experienced personal injury attorney here in Wisconsin will work to get you the compensation you deserve.