Archive for Friday, September 10, 2010

U.S. highway deaths at lowest level since 1950

September 10, 2010


— Traffic deaths have plummeted across the United States to levels not seen in more than a half-century, spurred by technology, safety-conscious drivers and tougher enforcement of drunken driving laws.

The Transportation Department said Thursday that traffic deaths fell 9.7 percent in 2009 to 33,808, the lowest number since 1950. In 2008, an estimated 37,423 people died on the highways.

Government and auto safety experts attributed the improvement to more people buckling up, side air bags and anti-rollover technology in more vehicles and a focus in many states on curbing drinking and driving. Economic conditions were also a factor.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called the new data “a landmark achievement for public health and safety” but cautioned that too many people are killed on the road each year. “While we’ve come a long way,” he said, “we have a long distance yet to travel.”

Forty-one states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico saw reductions in highway fatalities, led by Florida with 422 fewer deaths and Texas, down 405.

The rate of deaths per 100 million miles traveled also dropped to a record low. It fell to 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles in 2009, compared with 1.26 the year before.

Last year’s reduction in fatalities came even as the estimated number of miles traveled by motorists in 2009 increased 0.2 percent over 2008 levels.


kansasredlegs 7 years, 9 months ago

I guess all those Insurance-backed legislators got it all wrong when they predicted we'd need to order bodybags when the speed limit was raised from 55 mph to 70 mph. Time to look at raising speed limit to 80 mph on highway.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

Wrong. Despite the many factors that have reduced the death toll, it's still staggeringly high, and lowering the speed limit to 55 would still result in a significant reduction (while raising it to 80 mph would significantly increase it.)

kansasredlegs 7 years, 9 months ago

Really? Just like the increase to 70 mph did. Perhaps a name change of "just_another_slow_driver" or to the geriatric tune "i_can_drive_55" would be appropriate.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

Yea, like speed is the only factor involved here. (did you even read the article?)

kansasredlegs 7 years, 9 months ago

I didn't say it was the only factor. Since deaths are down to historically low levels, then the discussion can begin to raise the speed limit. Colorado has been 75 mph since Kansas went 70 and I don't hear CO screaming about the speed being out of hand and making its sytem the 'Highway of Death'. If you want to drive slower, go ahead just stay the heck out of left lane).

btw: Kansas was going to be 75 mph like CO, but the insurance lobby and dollars got to the legislators just before the vote.

Don Whiteley 7 years, 9 months ago

Hey, let's lower it to 20 across the entire nation. Think of the lives we'd save then. While we're at it, let's reinstate that Kansas law that used to require a man carrying a latter to walk in front of automobiles yelling "Car Approaching!"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

I have no illusions that speed limits will ever be lowered to 55 mph. But the fact remains, the faster the speed of the vehicles, the more accidents there are, and the greater the damage. It's just basic laws of physics.

So you wanna drive fast, fine. But don't pretend that it doesn't come at a very high cost.

rdhalste 7 years, 9 months ago

Although the reasons listed in the article are valid, the economy which they listed as a factor is probably the largest reason for the reduction. Gas prices are down, not because some one cut us a deal, but people just aren't driving as much. The 4 miles into town on M-20 (5 lane) used to be crowded, now even our so called "rush minute" when the factory workers get out is only a bit busy. Other times traffic is sparse.

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