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New England saw over 18% more fatalities in 2010 than 2009  (Source: Detroit News)
Less deaths thanks to safer cars and other factors

Despite all the warnings and talk about traffic fatalities related to distracted driving and texting while driving, many continue these unsafe activities. Despite the continued ignoring of law in many states by many drivers, the death rate from traffic fatalities has declined in 2010.

What's impressive about the decline in deaths from traffic accidents in 2010 is that it happened despite the fact that more driver miles were reported in 2010. This is the fifth straight year that a reduction in fatalities on the nation's highways has been recorded. In 2010, the number of deaths in on the roads in America dropped to 32,788. That is the lowest number since 1949 according to federal regulators.

Fatalities also declined 3.2% compared to the number from 2009. The highway miles increased in 2010 to about 20.5 billion miles more than in 2009.

However, there are three areas in the U.S that saw an increase in traffic fatalities in 2010. The areas include New England and the Midwest with fatalities up 18.9% in New England and 3.9% in the Midwest. The figures are based on projections with final numbers to be released this summer.

The 2010 fatality rate is expected to be 1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled; the rate was 1.13 per 100 million miles in 2009.

"Last year's drop in traffic fatalities is welcome news and it proves that we can make a difference," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Still, too many of our friends and neighbors are killed in preventable roadway tragedies every day. We will continue doing everything possible to make cars safer, increase seat belt use, put a stop to drunk driving and distracted driving and encourage drivers to put safety first."

LaHood is one of the driving forces behind the bans on texting while driving and the push to hands free technology. However, LaHood isn't opposed to seeking bans on hands free tech as well if it is found to contribute to accidents on the nation's roads. The reduced deaths are attributed to better policing of drunk drivers and safer cars among other things.

David Strickland from the NHTSA said, "NHTSA will continue pressing forward on all of our safety initiatives to make sure our roads are as safe [as possible]."

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In related news...
By sorry dog on 4/1/2011 12:31:00 PM , Rating: 2
Secretary LaHood proposes 35 miles per hour national speed limit and crash helmets for all drivers. He is quoted as saying,"We are making a difference, and please think of the children."

RE: In related news...
By Shig on 4/1/2011 2:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
Don't joke about that. Spain just reduced their highway speed limits 10mph (or w/e the kph is) in order to 'save' oil / gas.

Personally I think driver's licenses should be a lot harder to get.

RE: In related news...
By samspqr on 4/2/2011 4:25:56 AM , Rating: 2
and they say it's reducing car accidents very significatively (I think there's still no hard data, though)

and using mobile phones while driving, even with bluetooth headsets, is banned, too

and cars are generally ultra-tiny compared to the US, which many american drivers consider less safe (side collision tests, etc)

and roads may be worse, given the difference in wealth and GDP per capita

and the car related deaths per million people is nearly a third of that in the US; sometimes you just need a government to protect you from your stupid self

RE: In related news...
By Solandri on 4/1/2011 2:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
Statistically, aside from health problems and disease, the one thing most likely to kill you in your lifetime is your car. About 1 in every 90 people alive today are fated to die in a car accident.

So there's a very good reason to try to make cars safer.

RE: In related news...
By GTVic on 4/1/2011 3:07:34 PM , Rating: 2
The other 89 are also fated to die...

RE: In related news...
By Solandri on 4/1/2011 5:22:54 PM , Rating: 2
The other 89 are also fated to die...

You're not seriously saying we should do nothing to prevent deaths, are you? If you want me to connect the dots for you: The amount of money we spend on preventing death should be proportional to the risk and preventability of the cause.

We spend a disproportionate amount of money trying to make airliners safer, because like nuclear power, each accident gets disproportionately large coverage in the media. An optimal strategy for how money is spent to prevent death should be based primarily on how many deaths each activity causes, and how easy it is to prevent those deaths. By that standard, funding for disease prevention and healthy living should be the #1 priority, followed by improving auto safety.

RE: In related news...
By The Raven on 4/1/2011 3:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
So there's a very good reason to try to make cars safer.

Yes there is a good reason to make cars safer. But there is no reason for the gov't to get involved with it. Who would voluntarily purchase a death trap?

RE: In related news...
By chick0n on 4/1/2011 3:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
so you're saying the other 89 people will never die from other causes ?

Way to go jimmy.

RE: In related news...
By Camikazi on 4/1/2011 5:00:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well they said 1 in 90 fated to die in a car accident, never said the other 89 will not die, just that they won't die in a car accident according to the numbers.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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