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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Traffic Deaths at Record Low

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported today that 2007 can boast the lowest amount of traffic deaths in over a decade. Traffic fatalities dropped 1,600 from 2006 to a relatively low 41, 059. This fatality rate is 1.37 for every 100 million miles traveled, and therefore the lowest on record. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters states the reasons for the drop include "safer vehicles, aggressive law enforcement and [NHTSA] efforts."

California saw the lowest decline with 266 fewer deaths than 2006, but the largest percentage decreases were in South Dakota and Vermont. On the other hand, deaths in North Carolina increased 121 from 2006. Also disappointing for Secretary Peters is that motorcycle deaths have increased for the tenth straight year.

Reasons for the increase in motorcycle fatalities may be attributed to the massive increase in riders and in miles traveled. Because fuel prices are high, many people have traded driving their car or truck for a motorcycle. The inexperience of the riders may also play a part in the fatalities. Officials said they plan on an aggressive anti-drunk driving campaign set to launch before the Labor Day holiday.

President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Adrian Lund believes the drop in deaths is due to the economy. Again, gas prices were cited, although they really didn't begin to increase until this year, but the general sluggishness of the economy was also mentioned. Lund believes nest year's fatality rate will drop again.

This report comes amid another report that Americans are driving much less than they did at this time last year, or any year, since the oil embargo of the 1970s.

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posted by Neil at 1:41 PM

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