[ExI] US traffic deaths dropped to new low

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Tue Apr 5 21:56:43 UTC 2011

2011/4/5 Max More commented:
> U.S. traffic deaths dropped by 3 percent to a record annual low of 32,788
> for 2010 even as motorists drove more in an improving economy, projected
> government figures showed on Friday.
> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42383028/ns/health-health_care/
> Good news for longevity! Once we finally conquer aging, attention will shift
> even more strongly to progressively reducing the death rate from accidents.

The 'improving economy' bit is just government spin.

Miles driven correlates strongly with the price of gas, not the economy.

There has been a consistent downward trend in traffic deaths for many
years. This is indeed good news.

This Wall street Journal article (Dec 2010) considers some of the reasons:

The dramatic decline in highway fatalities in the U.S. since 2005 is a
piece of good news that's also a bit of a mystery. Is it the result of
better vehicle safety technology? Less stupid, reckless behavior?
Smarter strategies for easing teens into the responsibilities of
driving? Or just an unexpected positive side effect of a slumping

A new study by two University of Michigan researchers of detailed
federal crash statistics from 2005 to 2008 suggests all these reasons
could be behind the reduced death toll.

Alcohol and speed, he says, explain why so many people die on the
highway alone, without hitting another car. Out of 34,017 total
accidents in 2008 ascribed in federal data to a collision, about
62%—just over 21,000—involved a single-vehicle crash. Such deadly
wrecks declined by 9% between 2005 and 2008, less than the 13% decline
in deadly collisions overall.

So what's helping to reduce deaths? Technology deserves some credit,
according to the data. Deaths in side-impact crashes declined between
2005 and 2008 at a faster rate than the decline for deaths overall.
That suggests that side airbags are helping more people survive
crashes, the researchers found.

The Michigan study found a nearly 20% decline in deaths among young
drivers, age 16 to 25. Among the possible reasons: the increasing
number of states that use graduated licensing programs that delay
granting full driving privileges until teens have more experience, and
rising teen joblessness.


So fewer traffic deaths has multiple reasons.  No magic bullet here.


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