The National Traffic Safety Administration is out with a study on traffic safety, and reporting that fatalities caused by traffic accidents were down 7% this year from the same period last year, and down 18% since 2005. It is unclear what’s behind the drop, but several possibilities were suggested. People may be spending less time behind the wheel because of the economic recession. More probably is the increased use in seat belts. The report states that 84% of drivers are now consistently using seat belts, a record.
Car safety is also given attribution to the declining death rates. As older vehicles are replaced with new cars that have air bags, modern braking systems, and stability-control, the car accident death rates were expected to improve. While the number of car accident death is still very large – 16,626 already this year – the trend is encouraging.
We still have far too many families losing their loved ones every day in this country from distracted driving, drunk driving and not using their seat belt,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
Though fatalities rates are declining among automobile users, the opposite trend is occurring with motorcycle riders. The number of fatalities in motorcycle accidents rose steadily through the end of 2008, reaching 5,290, more than doubling the number of motorcycle accident-related deaths a decade ago.
The complete NTSA report can be found here (.pdf).
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
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