[ExI] US traffic deaths dropped to new low

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Apr 14 23:30:12 UTC 2011

>... On Behalf Of Damien Sullivan
Subject: Re: [ExI] US traffic deaths dropped to new low

On Tue, Apr 05, 2011 at 10:56:43PM +0100, BillK wrote:

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

>...I can't help noting that if all those cars were replaced by bus and rail
transit, those 32,000/year deaths would drop to somewhere between 300 and
3000, based on relative safety rates.  -xx- Damien X-)

Damien, compare this site:


with this site:


Find the same city in both, and ask yourself, Why is it that the fatalities
of pedestrians per 100,000 differ in some cases by a factor of 8?

Answer: it's all in how it is counted.

It isn't entirely clear how it should be counted.  Note I am not endorsing
one over the other, just suggesting comparison.

For instance, if a pedestrian is slain crossing a street, that counts, but
what if that pedestrian is fleeing from a gang when she crosses in panic?
Does that still count?  What if a pedestrian is shot for insufficient
alacrity in giving up her purse?  What if she is struck by a skateboarder on
the sidewalk, breaks a hip and perishes in agony?  Heart attack while
walking, count or no count?  Liquor store robber shot by owner while fleeing
on foot, pedestrian fatality?  To explain the wide disparity in the cited
statistics, I would suggest that one site counts everyone who is on foot
when they perish for any reason, and the other disregards as a crime
anything other than an accidental meeting of Detroit and flesh.

In the same mindset, do we not count the train passenger who is slain by
another train passenger?  How do we count the train passenger who is a crime
victim while at the station waiting for the train?  How do we count the
train passenger who is savagely beaten either on the train or waiting for
the train, then later perishes in the hospital?  Do we count the train
passenger who is followed out of the train terminal and assaulted, perhaps
fatally, in the parking lot?  Do we count only the exceedingly rare case of
those who perish in an actual train collision?   Why?  Do we count as
traffic fatalities caused by alcohol?  Do we count as traffic fatalities the
stupid proles who go off the road while racing motorcycles?  Why?

We create an illusion by counting as traffic fatalities *anyone* who
perishes in any Detroit for any reason, while treating as a crime (and as
not applicable) those who perish in most any public transit related

I would argue that we should count all fatalities that would not have
occurred had the person not risked mass transit.  Now assume one does not
drive drunk or stoned, does not race motorcycles, does not race any road
vehicle, does not drive tired, and isn't stupid, then cars are safer than
mass transit.  Our cars are our rubber and steel war horses, our rolling
suit of armor.  We have the option of carrying our 38 caliber lance tucked
down between the seats.  Even if that isn't safer, it sure as hell feels


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