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Accident Fatalities down in 2017

The leading traffic safety agency says traffic accident fatalities in 2017 were down after two years of increases. While this is a promising statistic, there were still tens of thousands of people killed in crashes last year. If you lost a loved one and suspect the crash was caused by someone else, please call Troy Law Firm for a complimentary consultation at (304) 315-2299.


In 2017, there were 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle accidents on U.S. roads. The reduction is notable because it follows two years of significant increases in highway deaths, in 2015 and 2016. More specifically, the fatalities in 2017 were down 1.8 percent – that is 673 fewer fatalities – from the previous year. Conversely, there was an 8.4 percent increase from 2014 to 2015 and a 6.5 percent increase from 2015 to 2016.

Here are some other statistics from the NHTSA regarding 2017 traffic fatalities:

  • Pedestrian deaths fell roughly 2 percent (pedestrian deaths had not seen a decline since the year 2013)
  • Deadly accidents involving tractor-trailers increased by 5.8 percent
  • Deadly accidents involving SUVs increased by 3 percent
  • Vehicle miles traveled increased 1.2 percent

As you can see, while the number of fatalities was down, certain types of deadly accidents actually increased. Other types of fatalities decreased, including:

  • Passenger vehicle occupants
  • Van occupants
  • Motorcyclists
  • Pick-up truck occupants

Fatalities involving alcohol or speeding were also down in 2017, by 1.1 percent and 5.6 percent respectively. Accident fatalities in 2016 and 2017 were greater in number than 2015, when rural deaths were greater.

When looking at the past four decades, there has been an overall downward trend in traffic fatalities. The NHTSA credits the downward trend to increased safety around issues such as seat belt use and impaired driving. They also credit improving vehicle safety features, including airbag technology and electronic stability control.


In 2017, there were 303 traffic fatalities in West Virginia. That's 34 more deaths than in 2016 or a 12.6 percent increase. In Kentucky, there were 782 traffic fatalities last year, which was 52 fewer deaths and a 6.2 percent decrease from the previous year.

There are many ways someone else's careless or negligent behavior can cause a wrongful death accident. Common causes include:

  • Texting and driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Careless driving
  • Drowsy driving

When someone's careless actions cause death, they may be held responsible in an accident claim.


Did you lose a loved one to a car accident caused by someone else's negligence? Or were you or a family member injured in an accident? Experienced attorney Mark Troy can determine if you have a case and will let you know what your options are for pursuing justice. For a complimentary consultation, please call our law firm at (304) 315-2299 Our office is located in Charleston, West Virginia. We proudly advocate for accident victims from across the region, including Prestonsburg and Ashland, Kentucky.