4 comments to “Miles to Go on Highway Safety”

  1. Jerry Wise

    I think that if the airline industry had 40,000 deaths per year due to air crashes then something would be done very quickly to bring about more safety in their industry. We have seen recently that auto makers have advanced safety by putting cameras and radar devices in cars that warn drivers of a possible crash and if they do nothing than the car stops itself. We even now have “texting features” in cars now…lane departure warning and auto lane correct. If one had to pass a breath test in order to start a car then deaths would be lower. Better car inspection methods would also help lower deaths. A lot more could be done by the auto industry to make cars safer. But in the end it’s up to the driver in almost all cases.

  2. Matthew Mabey

    Per capita death rates for traffic fatalities are a very poor (bordering on useless) measure. The commonly used deaths per passenger mile traveled is much more useful.
    (2013 data) per capita per vehicle per mile total
    Sweden 2.8 4.7 3.5 272
    US 10.6 12.9 7.1 34,064
    Canada 6.0 9.5 6.2 2114

    Simple per capita numbers would lead one to conclude the Libya has some sort of magic skiing safety program because their skiing death rate is so much lower than Switzerland’s. That is far from the case.

    In the case of Sweden, they made great improvements in the recent past partly because they had a very high alcohol related traffic fatality rate until they decided to aggressively tackle that problem. They had a big problem and therefore could make great improvements by tackling that particular problem. Time will tell if their “Vision Zero” program can make any further progress in their deaths per passenger mile traveled. Likely, most of their reductions in traffic fatalities in the future will be due to reduced miles traveled due to efforts to reduce GHG emissions. That will make their per capita numbers improve, but not their per passenger mile numbers. Once you get down to only a couple of hundred deaths in a population the size of Sweden, you are approaching an irreducible value.

    The criteria for the issuing (and keeping) of driver’s licenses is certainly one area to look at carefully when comparing countries’ traffic fatalities per passenger mile. Should a person with multiple collisions on their driving record really still have a license? Shouldn’t we have the police determining who was at fault in all collisions severe enough the incapacitate a vehicle? (at a minimum)

    Reduced risk is an admirable goal. Zero risk is a pipe dream. At some point the money is better spent on some other problem in the world.

  3. Ev

    This story seems disingenuous, and certainly not very enlightening. So WHY do Canada and New Zealand have much lower crash rates? Is it terrain, population density, license expense, training requirements, etc.? Do they have $1 billion traffic safety government organizations? Sweden’s policy is interesting, but I’m betting Canada has just about the same roadway and vehicle safety standards as the USA…

    I hear half of fatal accidents involve intoxicated drivers. Maybe making businesses that serve alcohol responsible for any drunks driving home would push that number way down quite quickly. But bars don’t make as good a villain as car companies, I suppose.

  4. Louis V. Lombardo

    Ben Kelley and FairWarning are right to bring this enormous continuing problem to the attention of the American people. After 50 years, how many Americans are aware that on an average day in the U.S.A. today we suffer nearly 100 deaths, 400 serious injuries, and losses valued by government estimates at $2 billion – every day.

    On September 9th the media should bring this to the attention of as many Americans as possible.

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