The chart [above] shows the rate of fatalities per 100 million miles driven. We have assembled the data, going back almost 100 years. Look at the chart closely. Can you see a drop in fatalities that corresponds with when seatbelts were first introduced? Or when legislation mandating their use was passed? Or what about when air bags become prevalent? What about a jump in fatalities that ties to the current “epidemic” in texting while driving?
I can’t. The data does show that fatalities dropped markedly during the Great Depression and WW II. Aside from that, the rate has been declining steadily for years. Decades, even. This is good news, but makes it hard to credit seatbelts, technology or the other factors that reflexively are given credit. I am not suggesting that we should all stop wearing seatbelts. I am suggesting that when thinking about transportation safety, there is more going on than we typically consider.
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