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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 jmunjr on 4/3/2011 2:25:56 AM , Rating: 2
I've gotten in a few wrecks in my life. Every one of them was when I was driving the speed limit and just being as nice a driver as possible. Finally I figured out what it took to make me a safer driver. I learned to drive aggressively.

Driving aggressively means I almost always drive over the speed limit, sometimes 40% over. I also treat driving like it is a race to some extent as I am constantly trying to race my way out of packs. Do I "cut" people off? Well, sure I do but I am always going faster so I don't force them to slow down nor put them in danger of hitting me, but I do usually try to have a decent amount of room to not scare the crap out of them.

Basically I drive in a manner that requires me to pay attention way way more often than if I drove the way most people drive.

The result? Zero accidents in 20+ years driving this way. Because I am actually paying attention when I drive significantly more than normal even with the aggression I am much more likely to avoid an accident. Oh and yes I have gotten in accidents in those 20 years but each time was when I was driving like everyone else and not paying attention as much.

FWIW I also exclusively drive manual/stick shift transmission cars. That is another component that imo actually increases awareness for a driver, at least one who is very comfortably with a manual.

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