There aren’t as many people losing their lives in Illinois and the rest of the United States from vehicle-related accidents as last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This information comes from NHTSA data that compares vehicle crash statistics from 2017 against figures for the previous year. In fact, crash-related deaths were down for all vehicle types, except for large trucks in urban areas, SUVs and tractor-trailers.

According to the NHTSA, fewer car, van, light pickup truck, motorcycle and bicycle drivers and passengers experienced personal injury deaths in 2017 than the prior year. There was also a slight decline in pedestrian fatalities along with fewer instances of alcohol-impaired and speeding-related deaths involving motor vehicles. While it’s too soon to refer to the findings as a trend, the results do show a noticeable reduction in roadway fatalities compared to what was seen in prior years.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration points that that the increase in larger truck-related deaths wasn’t entirely related to commercial trucks. For instance, some fatal accidents involved large, dual-wheeled pickups and similar vehicles not subject to FMCSA or U.S. Department of Transportation oversight. The spike in truck volume due to an increased demand for freight deliveries may be one of the factors that contributed to the boost in fatal accidents.

The NHTSA also reports that 16 percent of large truck accident victims weren’t buckled up. Conversely, about 4 percent fewer people who died in passenger cars failed to wear their seat belts in 2017 than what was reported in 2016. NHTSA snapshot test results also showed an increase in accidents where parties had various substances in their blood, such as marijuana and opioids.

Whether or not a motor vehicle accident involves a fatality, a personal injury lawyer may be able to evaluate the circumstances related to a collision and determine if some type of negligence might have been involved. With crashes involving larger commercial trucks, an attorney sometimes looks at driver logs and other records to identify possible issues with hours of service violations and maintenance oversights. Victims or surviving family members may be able to receive appropriate compensation if legal action is taken.