Friday, April 1, 2011

Car Crash deaths at their lowest since 1949

When I was in high school, getting your driver's license at age sixteen was a rite of passage; And so was experiencing the tragedy of losing a friend to a car accident. We lost nine students, most to car and motorcycle crashes my senior year of high school. The fact is the roads are safer now than they have been since 1949. Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation released statistics showing the number of car crash deaths dropped again in 2010. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the largest drop in car crash deaths came in 2008 when the death rate plummeted 9.7%. California was amongst the states with the steepest decline: traffic related deaths were down by 11% in the state. Many attribute the significant drop in 2008 to the stark downturn our economy took. First, people were buying less goods, and the number of semi-tractor trailers on the road plummeted. Big-rigs travel legally at 75 mph in many states, and they weigh approximately 80,000 lbs when fully loaded. The result of fewer big-rigs is fewer wrecks. Experts also attribute the drop to fewer teens being on the road. Since jobs all but disappeared, the high school summer job did not materialize for most in the summer of 2008. Parents were not in a position to provide cars, insurance and gas money for their children in the face of daily bank closings, mass layoffs and multi-hundred point swings in the stock market. The result was that high school kids left the freeways en-masse. Some evidence exists that in the second half of 2010 death rates from traffic accidents began increasing, which corresponds to the economic up-tick. However, Secretary of Transportation Ray La Hood promised to "continue our efforts" to ensure the safety of our highways.

No comments:

Post a Comment