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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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By Solandri on 4/1/2011 2:20:37 PM , Rating: 2
Here are some of the factors that I believe encouraged people to drive better:
Petrol pumps on "pre-pay" (pay in advance).
High petrol prices.

These fatality stats are almost always calculated per vehicle mile or passenger mile, so fuel prices and inconvenience have nothing to do with it.

By Keeir on 4/1/2011 3:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
These fatality stats are almost always calculated per vehicle mile or passenger mile, so fuel prices and inconvenience have nothing to do with it.

Extreme hypermiling is not really good for safety.

But mild hypermiling -is- good for safety.

IE, keeping acceleration and speed down. Paying more attention to driving (to save gas). Pre-planning trips to reduce gas also reduces stress/distraction.

Unforuntely, I think this would be a relatively short term effect. I've estimated I "save" around 2 gallons per extra hour spent driving by employing mild hypermiling. Thats really only paying myself ~8 dollars a hour. Even at Europe (or NZ) elevated fuel rates... its not really a winning proposition, especially with 2/3 people in a car.

By drycrust3 on 4/1/2011 8:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
Those factors are what I considered to be part of the driving environment that made a difference. As I said, go and look at the states with improved safety and compare them with those that are worse. My guess is that the factors listed are prevalent in those states with improved safety, while they won't be in those with poor records.
One factor that no one seems to have picked up on is that fatalities are a consequence of the driving environment. That is the reason why the way each state presents its driving environment is important, because small changes may have big payoffs in terms of safety.
Petrol pumps on "pre-pay" (pay in advance).

The reason I believe this is important isn't because of convenience or inconvenience, but because it makes those who would otherwise steal petrol behave themselves.
As a bus driver I often deal with people that want to challenge my authority, and I have found that a small display of authority is all that is needed to get a suitable level of behaviour.
I believe people that successfully steal petrol will also be likely to not care about how they behave when driving or that they may cause an accident.
By having to pay in advance it shows a level of authority to those with an attitude problem, so I believe they will drive better than they would otherwise have done.
In addition, it limits the distance people who stole a car can drive to just what is in the tank.
High petrol prices.

I believe this discourages people from seriously high speed driving.

Those are my beliefs. I welcome anyone proving me wrong.

By Gzus666 on 4/1/2011 11:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
I believe this discourages people from seriously high speed driving. Those are my beliefs. I welcome anyone proving me wrong.

Flawed logic, you are required to prove your assertion, not the other way around. Otherwise it is merely what you think and is not based on any reality. Negative till proven otherwise, that is the world of debate and logic.

By drycrust3 on 4/2/2011 12:22:03 AM , Rating: 2
Flawed logic, you are required to prove your assertion,

True, I would love to prove my assertions, but for the most part I don't have the time or the money.

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