By on February 25, 2020

The National Safety Council just released its estimates for U.S. roadway fatalities in 2019, and there’s good news to share. Deaths declined for the second consecutive year. According to the NSC, traffic fatalities reached an estimated 38,800 last year, representing a 2-percent decline from 2018 and and a 4-percent decline against 2017.

While the NSC said the decline came “after several years of spikes,” we found the claim to be mildly misleading. Even though 2015 and 2016 posted meaningful increases in roadway deaths, safer streets have been in fashion since the 1970s. Most years since then have resulted in fewer crashes, with sporadic bad periods sprinkled throughout. If you’re interested in some supporting data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. roadway fatalities per 100,000 people averaged around 26.01 in 1972. That figure fell to just 10.28 by 2014, with the combined 2015-2016 increases bumping it up to just 11.59 per 100,000 people. 

The general trend has been towards increased safety; clearly, we’ve come a long way over the past several decades. Still, it’s important to know which areas continue to cause problems so that they can be properly addressed. These occur over a much longer timeline and require additional information.

From the NSC:

Research to definitively determine why fatalities have decreased for the last two years is likely to lag several years. However, the NSC preliminary estimate signals that the country may be experiencing the benefits of several risk mitigation actions implemented in the last few years. For example, 10 cities have embraced Vision Zero models, which make streets safer by taking actions that include redesigning high-crash areas to reduce crash risk. Other proven measures include lowering the legal alcohol concentration limit. Utah’s implementation of a .05 legal limit has prompted other states to consider similar laws. Coalitions such as Road to Zero have raised the national dialogue.

And today, the majority of newly manufactured vehicles include advanced driver assistance systems, such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning systems, backup cameras and adaptive headlights, all of which are proven to reduce the severity of crashes or prevent them altogether.

We’re still uncertain about advanced driving aids, at least in their current state. While they definitely have the ability to save an inattentive motorist from having an accident in certain instances, they’re sometimes unreliable and research suggests they may actually make you a worse driver. One could also make the claim that many aids came into service during the same period we saw those abnormally high spikes in roadway fatalities, or suggest that the last two years (where safety did improve) wasn’t as robust as previous decades, where annual gains were often larger.

Our point is that, despite the praise surrounding driver assistance systems, few bother to go in and examine each feature independently. It was easier with seat belts, as there wasn’t nearly as many factors to account for. Individual assistance features really should be examined more closely before we presume they’ll save us.

Getting back to the big picture, the National Safety Council noted that preliminary estimates showed at least a 13-percent improvement in roadway deaths in Alaska, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Vermont. States that showed fatalities increasing by more than 5 percent included Delaware, Maine, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee and Wyoming. While the NSC did not presume the cause of the localized degradation in public safety, it noted spikes in pedestrians fatalities and said distracted driving remained a factor.

“Thirty-eight thousand deaths is still unacceptable, even if it is fewer than in years past,” said NSC President Lorraine M. Martin. “We are encouraged by the actions so many organizations are taking to reduce deaths, and we applaud legislation that curtails common crash causes such as impairment, distraction and speed. But as a nation, we still need to demonstrate better commitment to saving lives. Roadway deaths can be prevented by doubling down on what works, embracing technology advancements and creating a culture of safer driving.”

[Image: mikeledray/Shutterstock]

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87 Comments on “U.S. Traffic Deaths Decline for Second Year in a Row...”


  • avatar
    boxcarclassic

    2 things people on their phones ,lazy driving skills,and honestly vehicles not as strong as your average fischer price toy. CAFE EPA regs have become ridiculous,Allowing computers to navigate to me is not a good strategy.It will make people lazier than they already are. People today have lost the art of actually driving.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      The ‘Fisher-Price’ thesis does not necessarily hold up:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPF4fBGNK0U

      [2009 Chevy Malibu vs. 1959 Chevy Bel Air, 50% offset]

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Thank you for posting that Bel-Air video. I make a point of showing it to my old car owning friends. I figure my aircooled VWs are about as safe as a motorcycle in a crash and drive them like it.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          If you have to be in a crash in an old car, an Imperial would be my pick.

          These days you have crumple zones, 10293847 airbags, side impact protection, thicker pillars for better rollover protection. If we had people that would drive instead of sit behind the wheel and do everything else stats would be even lower.

      • 0 avatar
        boxcarclassic

        That is an old scam! those bel airs were made of fiberglass! Try the same test with a cadillac from same time.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          Fiberglass? You really think that?

          • 0 avatar
            boxcarclassic

            I know it! Hey take any big car even from the 70s like a caprice and do a head on. Watch the difference. Oh yeah Id put big money on that outcome. I know a lot of honest car guys who are in the business get heated over the commies using one of the weakest vehicles and saying todays cars are safer. its a complete scam.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            Lol I owned a 60 Cadillac and I’m in the business.

            Great vehicle but don’t get in a crash with it. I’d rather be in a smart car.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          You are as full of $#!+ as a Christmas Turkey boxcarclassic. You desperately wanting something to be true does not in any way shape or form make it true.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, as someone who has prosecuted a few personal injury cases, the old cars were very dangerous. Windows, sharp edges, hitting that metal dashboard with a lap belt only. Ugly stuff.
            Today, a modern car with bags will allow a 65 mph walk away with just some upset, compared with the old car in a 40 mph intersection resulting in fracture and/or stitches.
            I base this on review of many, many files in a long term NYC personal injury law office. The historical files were much different than today, and to a large extent, have put much of “ambulance chasing” out of business, and that is a good thing. The medical records in the old cases were way more damage for way less wrecking.

            According to my accident reconstruction expert witness, a fatality will only be likely if the motorist is hit broadside on the driver’s door. Every other angle of a MODERN car is set to deform, bag or catch the occupant unless you are unlucky or hit a phone pole at 120.

            Want to see modern cars wreck ? Attend any LeMons race. The series has a very stout roll cage , five point harness, etc around the driver, but the cars, when hit, deform as engineered. I’d not want to run a 70’s roller in this kind of thing, I’d be way happer with a clapped out 90’s car in a “bump”. You can YouTube some great Lemons wrecks, but folks usually walk away.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “Want to see modern cars wreck ? Attend any LeMons race. The series has a very stout roll cage , five point harness, etc around the driver, but the cars, when hit, deform as engineered. I’d not want to run a 70’s roller in this kind of thing, I’d be way happer with a clapped out 90’s car in a “bump”. You can YouTube some great Lemons wrecks, but folks usually walk away.“

            Hell the Daytona 500 is the perfect example of modern safety systems, the fact he lived that crash is insane.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            it isn’t even the glass and sharp edges, it’s that the structural designs of old cars paid absolutely zero attention to how they would react in a collision. Pillars and door apertures were there solely as something to hang the doors on, and in a crash would just fold up as if they weren’t even there and let the colliding vehicle smear you into cherry pie.

            old cars were flimsy junk. I’m getting tired of boomer idiots who think they were “tanks” just because they were made from slightly thicker sheet metal.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “those bel airs were made of fiberglass! ”

          man, the stupid sh*t people let themselves get conned into believing.

          “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.” -Maurice Switzer

          Well, you’ve removed all doubt of it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I have to back up @speedlaw on this one. I’ve worked 30 years in healthcare. I’ve seen vast improvements in vehicle safety with reduced mortality and morbidity in my lifetime.

            I too get sick and tired of the deluded fantasy of the “good ol’ days”. My current F150 is vastly more capable and durable than anything I’ve owned in the past. It has spent less time in the shop than the stuff my dad owned and easily outperforms anything he owned.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            It may depend on what you consider the “good old days” cars were Lou…I’m 56, and grew up in the 70s, so my “nostalgia” cars were mainly awful, rolling-turd malaise-mobiles. Even the “cool” cars were awful – I knew a girl in college whose dad bought her a 1980-ish ‘Vette, which jettisoned its’ right hand door for no apparent reason one day. So, yeah, what’s out today is worlds better.

            Someone in his 60s, though, might look back to all those cool ’50s and ’60s cars he grew up with, and would have a far stronger case for being nostalgic, you know?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @FreedMike – I’m 2 years older than you. in my youth we had access to a lot of 60’s cars and trucks.
            Most of those who “wax nostalgic” are us baby-boomers. We are at the young end of the range and those in their mid 70’s at the high end.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yeah, if you want to know why modern cars are so heavy and have such lousy visibility, it’s partly because they’re built much stouter than they were in the good ol’ days.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Exactly. A friend of mine owns an Edge and uses it to tote her kids around, and she complained how about how hard it is to see out of. She’s right, but I asked her what she’d rather be driving in a wreck – the hard-to-see-out-of Edge, or a woody wagon like the ones we grew up around. No contest.

        Some folks around here seemingly think that all that safety stuff is some kind of communist plot to sap and impurify all their bodily fluids or something, but ignore the usefulness of the designs.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          The unintended consequence here is that people want both. So they buy a 4 door pickup or BOF SUV. The tech is there for actual windows and strength. Those designs cost more to implement however. Thus, trucks.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    39k roadway deaths a year is a major public health crisis and ought to be treated as such. It’s enough people that the odds are pretty good that you, random American, will know somebody personally who gets killed in a car crash in any given year. I personally know three different people who were hit by cars last year; fortunately, none of them was killed, but in all three cases it was the driver’s fault.

    If anything else killed 39k otherwise healthy people a year, we’d be running around with our hair on fire. Just imagine both the news coverage and the political response if we had 13 9/11 terrorist events annually, if 39k people were getting killed in airplane crashes every year, or if contaminated food were killing 39k people every year. We ought to be treating roadway safety as the same sort of emergency.

    Until we have a clear path to working robot cars, the solutions are going to have to center around improving drivers. Driver error—usually elementary driver error—accounts for the vast majority of those crashes, and we need people to take driving as seriously as the deadly activity it is. That’s going to mean more enforcement, especially of right-of-way rules, and more education too. But beyond enforcement, attitudes need to change. People can’t keep thinking they can be one more car through that red light or that they can sneak around the pedestrian in the crosswalk. Just stop or slow down when the law requires it.

    There’s also an equipment component. On cars, It’s time to have uniform bumper and lighting height standards and to enforce them. Speed governors should become a thing on local roads in urban areas. But the roadway is also equipment, and we have so many unsafe roadways in the US. The 45 mph multi-lane “stroad” design universal throughout our suburbs is super-deadly. High-speed roads should become more like freeways, with limited access and no vehicle crossings. Low-speed roads should be more like city streets, with slow speeds and narrower lanes.

    Oslo and Helsinki are large cities that have both achieved zero — that’s right, zero — car-related deaths in the last couple of years. We could do the same in our cities, and drastically reduce the death toll in rural areas.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      Nothing like giving up liberty for safety.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “Liberty” to run red lights, modify your truck so the bumper is at the height of other drivers’ brains, and drive with your face buried in your iPhone?

        • 0 avatar
          redapple

          UTAH 0.05 BAL rule is Bu77 sheet.
          Money grab
          Virtue signal orgy overload.
          Proof?

          AN AIRLINE PILOT CAN LEGALLY FLY THAT AIRBUS 321NEO AT 0.04 BAL.

          • 0 avatar
            redapple

            Embedded in my point is this.
            It is a great deal more difficult to fly a plane than a car. AND the repercussions of an ‘accident’ tremendously more grave.

            So, if you retain enough skill OR looking at it another way, alcohol hasnt really eroded your skills at 0.04 in a plane, 0.05 in a car is flat silly/ridiculous. THE MAN is just trying to RAPE you.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Not at any airline in the US. They all have corporate policies stricter than the FAA’s, for good reason.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            PS: Once I took some interesting physiological tests for extra credit in a university course. At .02 BAC (one draft beer for a guy my size) there was little effect on function. By .04 (two draft beers for a guy my size, less for someone smaller) the picture was very different. Reaction times were significantly slower and reactions were less accurate. I won’t personally drive above .02-.03 and I’m just fine with a .05 limit, which also applies in many European countries.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          “Liberty” to run red lights, modify your hatchback so the bumper is dragging the ground and your car can’t maintain the speed limit on anything not a drag strip, and drive with your face buried in your iPhone unable to see due to the cloud of mango smelling vape steam filling your car?

          Cool…stereotypes are fun!

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “Nothing like giving up liberty for safety.”

        your right to swing your fists ends at the tip of the other person’s nose, and it has always been this way, jackhole.

        “Freedom” doesn’t mean you get to harm other people. No matter how many flags you wave or how loud you bellow “USA! USA! USA!”

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “Nothing like giving up liberty for safety.”

          If you want to jump off a bridge, well that is your choice….. BUT…. please make sure you don’t land on someone when you do!

          People forget that with freedom/liberty comes responsibility. If you aren’t willing to be “your brother’s keeper” then someone else has to look out for their interests.

          Most laws are designed to ensure that the irresponsible and criminal side of society doesn’t harm those who are responsible and honest.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Great post dal20402!

      Another thing to consider that aids safety: driving less. Constructing a life that doesn’t require long commutes in heavy traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        DAL

        Stop. THINK. USE LOGIC.
        The FAA allows 0.04.
        I know airlines have stricter policies.
        The point is, AND IT IS A MAJOR ONE, the FAA allows it.

        Dont you think they know they allow this? Of course they do. So, they have decided it DOES NOT ERODE A PILOTS’ ABILITY TO FLY A PLANE.
        FACTS AND LOGIC are in this point. Tangential extension is in your point.

        The others are wrong, i do not think you are quasi left troll.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      Couldn’t agree more with your third paragraph.
      Couldn’t agree less with your fourth paragraph.

      Im not really sure what to think about your whole blurb. With your left hand you demand more personal responsibility (that a great thing). With your right hand, you take away personal responsibility by demanding more regulation. When you take away personal choice, people dont learn from theirs or others mistakes, they continue in ignorance.

      “we have so many unsafe roadways in the US”
      Try driving in the middle east or eastern europe. Nothing like a little perspective to center your version of safe.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I don’t really want to take some of the deadliest countries in the world (those in the Middle East) as a model.

        Eastern Europe outside Russia has poor driver training, but it also actually has better roads than the US for safety, with the result that the fatality rate is the same as the US. Russia is worse than the US, because of the combination of vodka and USSR delusions of grandeur resulting in overly wide roads.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          not as a model. Visit these countries. You might return with a new appreciation for the infrastructure (and freedom) we have.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            oh, so it’s “love it or leave it” BS?

            “theirs is worse” does not mean “ours can’t be better.”

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            Jim,

            I dont disagree. But im not inclined to discuss this with you since it seems you would would rather call names and belittle vs present facts.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I have been to Russia. I certainly wouldn’t trade their infrastructure for ours.

            I have also been to Finland. I would trade their infastructure for ours in a heartbeat.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Jon, That was true from the 1940’s until the 1980s.

            Since then Americans have traded much of their infrastructure and personal rights for lower taxes for the most wealthy and increased firearm rights.

            The majority of the rest of 1st world nations, believe that was a poor trade-off. And unnecessary as with the fall of the Soviet Union the USA could have built a lasting peace, that favoured its interests, rather than those of the carpetbagging capitalists who have pushed it into multiple international errors.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Don’t worry. 39K is nothing vs 1M annual intake

    • 0 avatar

      VZ has become cover for anti-car zealots. Road Diets and most of the so called safety that VZ suggests are designed to make driving impossible. It also makes thing slower for emergency vehicles, so if you are OK with that Road Diet Nonsense making mom wait 2 minutes longer for EMS to get there, support Road Diets. I’ve had two local semi-highways with no, none, zero residential along them cut to one lane, so now we can all pile up behind the stupidest person out there.

      The low speed limts require camera enforcement. NYC is now doing extremely well with wall to wall cams, meanwhile, the VZ folks/bike nuts provide all the cover the govt needs to pick your pocket.

      VZ makes some sense in center cities or places that are pre-auto in design, but is a political agenda outside. I fight it off in my local town whenever suggested.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The talking point about emergency access is straight-up bull$hit. We have done something like 20 rechannelizations of major arterial roads here in Seattle and there has been zero effect on emergency response times. Zero. Meanwhile, injury crashes typically drop by around a quarter, and that’s before the narrowing that should also really be part of the projects but hasn’t been around here.

        If you don’t want anybody to pick your pocket, then stop at the damn red lights, don’t speed in active school zones, and don’t drive your car in bus lanes. New York only has speed cameras in school zones, nowhere else. Most of the cameras in the city are either red light cameras, or, increasingly, bus lane cameras mounted on buses.

        • 0 avatar

          The folks at Paradise, CA disagree with you. The road diet made escape from the wild fires much more difficult. Also, cams don’t exist in a vacuum…NYC first said school zones only, during school hours. Now, school hours are 6am-10 pm, and the school zones are bigger…and measured by air, not street distance. Lastly, NYC lowered the speed limits from 30 to 25, THEN put up cameras. Indeed, the west side highway was also reduced specifically for cam enforcement. This cancer will only spread, until we are like the UK with average speed cams everywhere. Please keep in mind that the other goal is to eliminate 85th percentile speed limits completely, post low (50th percentile) limits, and cam, cam, cam, all in the name of “safety”. School zoned for the children now-but according to the pro cam advocates (yes, I’ve gone to meetings and public forums-lifetime NMA member) they’d love to see cams on the limited access roads as well. This is part of a strong anti car agenda, not a push for safety. FYI, my personal tickets have only been on interstate roads, not school zones, buses, or anything ever in a city. The other push of VZ is zero pedestrian responsibility, so when I’m in the city, I expect-and are never disappointed- when a mid block crosser, looking firmly at phone, just walks out without even a cursory glance. That’s OK, though, under the whole VZ regime, the ped is not responsible for their own safety, even a tiny, tiny bit.

          On another note, I saw on last night’s TV news, the residents of Staten Island protest the cameras that have sprung up all over. You must have a reasonable speed limit, not an unreasonable one to use cams. Germany has cams, but no one complains because speed limits are set according to reality, not the fevered fantasy of a few anti car folks.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The UK has a roadway fatality rate less than one-third of ours, and if you dig into the details it has a pedestrian fatality rate around one-fifth of ours. As a driver, I would happily take more camera enforcement in exchange for those results. Obey the damn speed limit in the city, or even get close to it (the NY cams don’t ticket until you’re 11 over), and you won’t have a problem.

            Away from freeways, “reasonable speed limit” should be defined in terms of safety for people outside the car, not the fee-fees of the people in it.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          @Dal, perhaps we should begin to treat those infractions as criminal in nature resulting in jail time or public service versus a printing press for local municipalities.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      *Guns* kill just about the same number of people every year in the US. Smoking kills 10-12X+ as many. But CARS are a public health menace? Ban smoking, regulate guns properly (better yet, ban them too), THEN worry about traffic deaths.

      I certainly believe the standard of driving in the US is deplorable, and something should be done about it, but come on now… 350M+ people in the country, nearly every one of whom is in and around cars every single day to the tune of *3 TRILLION miles driven annually*, and we only manage to kill off 38K people annually. That’s an f’ing modern miracle, not a crisis.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        And yet other car-heavy countries manage with relative ease to achieve fatality rates that are a fraction of ours.

        I don’t see why we should be happy with killing 39k people a year on our roads when we have proven examples of how to kill far fewer people with little if any loss of mobility.

        • 0 avatar

          The golden hour for trauma is also part of this. All of Europe is near a hospital. Roll your pickup in Montana, it could be two hours before help arrives.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            hey, them’s the breaks. you want to live out in the sticks, you take the bad with the good.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            you want to live out in the city? you take the bad with the good

            That argument goes both ways

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            nobody said otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Out of the 33,654 U.S. 2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes, 168 occurred in Montana.

            https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/query

            Run any query which includes by-state data, then click on the “168” figure and you get a map. The majority of the 168 fatalities in Montana in 2018 were clustered around Billings, Missoula and Kalispell. (Those cities each have multiple hospitals.)

            If you wanted to dig deeper, “EMS Arrival Time” data is available.

            (Because I was curious, 21 of the 168 fatalities involved a motorcycle; 147 did not. The map for the “21” is especially interesting.)

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I mean I was in a hospital within an hour when my “injury” was in the middle of EBF Iraq. It is 2020, transportation is pretty good nowadays.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          We need much better driver training here, and we need to change the culture to take driving far more serious. For many, driving is something they do while they are doing more “important” things. I know people that start making phone calls as soon as they get behind the wheel because they have nothing else to do while driving. People manually text and drive because they might miss something important. They prop up books and newspapers thinking the drivers aids will do the thinking for them.

          It should not be socially acceptable to behave this way and when it becomes unacceptable we will have better drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            replace useless speed traps with consistent enforcement of “no texting” laws and the roads would be a lot safer. and probably no loss in revenue.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “We need much better driver training here, and we need to change the culture to take driving far more serious.”

            Agreed.

            For most people, driving is the most dangerous task they will ever perform. Instead of letting insurance rates and traffic tickets affect behavior (after the fact) we should have a system where drivers have to re-test to provide competency. That should go beyond the typical road test and include accident avoidance. In this day and age of super-computers it shouldn’t be that hard to do in a simulator.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I’d happily get rid of every speed camera, except maybe for a small number at the worst school zones, in exchange for a red light camera at every city intersection.

            (In Seattle, we have quite a few school zone cameras around town, but just two of them issue a majority of school zone tickets.)

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        Yep, that worked well for the Jews in the 1930’s.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          So many issues. I have had the road engineers/designers/experts in our city tell us that creating straight, flat roads actually increases the amount of collisions.

          On the 401 near the Port Hope area the Ministry of Transport rebuilt part of the road creating an artificial bend/curve in the highway as there were so many serious collisions on that stretch, when it was straight and flat.

          My recommendations would be a)increased driver training requirements b) graduated licensing, c) a return to the grid system for all new developments (this evens out the flow of traffic), d) replacing our intersections with roundabouts (eliminating T-bone collisions/etc and the need for ‘red light cameras’, e) mandatory rapid transit lanes/right of ways in all new or redeveloped areas, f) prohibiting the movement of all tractor/trailer/large commercial trucks in urban areas during the ‘rush hours’ (thus freeing up more room for ‘cars’), g) mandatory licensing and insurance for all bicyclists.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Jon, What is that statement in regards to and what are you trying to impugn?

          Perhaps Ronnie can provide you with the information that you are lacking.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            It is in regards to “better yet, ban them too”. In retrospect, that discussion is not appropriate for this forum, being a car blog and all.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “*Guns* kill just about the same number of people every year in the US.”

        15,292 Gun deaths in the US in 2019 (that is everything from mass shootings to suicides to defensive gun uses. Hardly “just about the same number”

        But hey, don’t let facts stand in your way…keep going!

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Hover over each country and compare the U.S. “Deaths per 100K people (all)” to some other countries (ex. Sweden, Germany, Canada):

    https://extranet.who.int/roadsafety/death-on-the-roads/#deaths

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      It’s surprising to see places such as China and Japan so high, both of these countries have very poor people that are financially incapable of affording any vehicle for deaths to be so high likely speaks heavily on the level of driver education.

      America makes sense, we as a society have much more resources to afford vehicles and the freedom to drive them without financially straining ourselves. If anything needs to change in America it’s affording the financial resources to help develop young children the skills and understanding of driver safety in school so they are better prepared.

      Kids that (for god knows what reason) don’t get their license at 16 but instead wait until they’re 18 have essentially no training. Drivers education should be a mandatory class in schools because even if the kids don’t plan on driving until they’re 18 – let’s face it everyone outside of a couple invalids need these basic skills to drive in America.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        I was impressed by the graduated license process my teens went through several years ago:

        https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/teen%20and%20novice%20drivers

        Not as impressed by the driver training they did in school. Did some on my own. Step 1: Get in a big empty parking lot. Park the car in the spot I pick. Get out and give yourself a grade. Repeat. Repeat some more.

        Why? Muscle memory of starting/stopping the car, plus knowing where your car is in the parking lot helps you learn where it is on the road. And general courtesy of learning to park in the lines.

        Step 2: Stop the car with the edge of your right front tire touching that low-angle curb. Get out and check it. Now left front tire. Spatial awareness. Car control. What you do *here* matters *out there*. This is not a video game.

        There’s more. (Nobody ‘enjoys’ being my kid, but there are some benefits.)

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Honestly teaching kids autocross techniques and actually making them push a vehicle to its limits is the best way to help new drivers develop skills and personally how I built my driving skills. If you can safely drive on a closed course at the limit and hone your skills on those techniques as well as recovering in varying losses – be it hydroplaning, running off the road, having ABS deactivated and trying to not lock up your brakes, hitting ice, driving in snow – etc – everyone would be better off.

          Watching a video on such conditions does not teach actual real world skills.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            My kid has been the family car mover for over a year now. In and out of the garage. Bringing it to the barn so I can hitch the trailer to it. Last weekend moving a 25 ft trailer around the property. Its all very slow stuff (walking speed) but has cemented into their head which pedal is which, why the stereo is off, what the parking brake is for, etc. This child (young teen) is also learning to drive a stick (our other car).

            We live in a red state where acquiring a license amounts to a five minute drive and ride with the tester, and a multiple choice test. It needs to be more strict than that as the roads get more crowded.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          This winter I had my youngest son out in a parking lot and had him running over clumps of snow. It had him learn where the wheels are located on the vehicle. I even shut off the nannies and got him to slide my truck. He even “lost it” and did a donut. He thought that was fun but also realized how quickly one can loose control. He also got the feel for what it feels like when the steering wheel goes dead on ice with understeer.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I don’t mind too much that most can’t parallel park (to save their lives). Except it’s symbolic of everything else they’re not good at, like “merging”.

            Now that’s an unnatural skill that should be forced on every Driver’s Tests.

            So are there cars that can self-merge into traffic? Does Autopilot do it?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      I spent like two minutes trying to figure out why there was no data for Taiwan before I realized this was a WHO page.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      This is helpful. Let’s all try to be more like North Korea.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    “Low-speed roads should be more like city streets, with slow speeds and narrower lanes.”
    My street is a dead end with a cul de sac, coming out onto a two lane 30 mph road with no shoulder, nobody and I mean nobody goes the speed limit, it’s more like 45-50 and why, no police enforcement and only more traffic being added because of being in a high growth area with new homes going up by the minute!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Make the lanes a foot narrower, with curbs next to them, and watch those speeds drop without a single cop doing a thing.

      • 0 avatar
        redgolf

        yeah, the speeds may drop but head on collisions won’t with everyone riding the line!

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          We actually have a lot of experience doing this, and people don’t crash into each other. The usual result is a substantial safety improvement. Both the frequency and severity of accidents decline. When people are going slower, they have more time to react and stopping distances are vastly shorter.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “We actually have a lot of experience doing this”

            yeah, unfortunately you’re talking to a typical American a**hole who doesn’t care about your “experience” and “facts” if they contradict his “gut feeling.”

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Local news is (for once) actually doing their job and looking into lane narrowing, the crash frequency at intersections with narrowed lanes shows a marked increase. Every intersection on narrowed roads in Raleigh have had heavy number of side swipes and other wrecks since changes were implemented.

            Data showed people did not slow down when roads were narrowed which went contradictory to the theory of the local universities studies that prompted these changes.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            Some of the city streets here are wide and the RTA buses still travel 4 feet overlapped in the opposite lane. We basically have to pull in between parked cars to let them pass at times. Of course they have 6-8 feet between them and the cars on their side.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Many of our city streets are so narrow it’s impossible to stay in your lane, particularly at intersections where the road shifts left or right several feet. I can’t imagine taking a 4 door long bed through such intersections.

            I just don’t worry about it anymore and only take large vehicles into the city now days. There’s enough steel on the H1+H2 at the rockers to take the grunt of any low speed impact such as that without serious damage. Lord help you in a tiny Camry or the such.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Reading the reports about Raleigh, that’s sort of a unique case. The narrowing went too far (probably in an attempt to keep multiple lanes); there shouldn’t be lanes under 9 feet anywhere.

            The more typical situation is that lanes on local roads are 12-foot, interstate-style lanes, and reducing them to 10.5 feet has reduced speeds most places it’s been tried.

            I expect those roads in Raleigh would get safer if you widened the lanes to 10 feet, took out a lane on each side, and then used the extra space for either angled parking or a parking-separated bike lane.

            The biggest mistake we make in American transportation planning is thinking that local roads should have lots of lanes. They very rarely can use all of those lanes, because other surrounding roads can’t absorb that much traffic, and roadways with fewer lanes are drastically safer.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Reposting from 1/11/20:

    On the general topic of automotive fatalities (and injuries, and crashes in general), NHTSA has a new query tool (Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool, or FIRST) which is fairly easy to use:

    https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/query

    Refer to the “sample queries” on the right side of the page for a quick start (you may then modify the sample query on your own).

    Potential areas to explore: Seat belt use, blood alcohol content, speeding, time of day/light condition/atmospheric conditions, rollover, type of vehicle, age of driver, etc etc.

    A surprising level of granularity is available (see the “…by State” sample query as an example), and geographic mapping is available for some queries (see the “…Police Reported…” sample query).

  • avatar
    cprescott

    As cold as this might sound, there is nothing to be sorry for when a driver removes himself from the herd when it doesn’t also take out someone else. I only feel for those who innocently were taken out by drunk drivers (who should get the death penalty) or those who travel in a reckless manner or who go the wrong way. And to those who are distracted drivers, I think if you kill someone on the highway, you should get life in prison never to be a risk to anyone else ever again.

    I honestly have seen some brazen and cowardly acts behind the wheel where other people appear to not to give a flying monkey about others on the road. But if their driving takes only them off the highway, I’m all for that. No repeat offenders, please.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Come on…you’ve NEVER driven like a jerk once in your life? It that’s true, and your fingers aren’t crossed behind your back when you say so, then my hat’s off. Otherwise, we’re all human, and we all make errors of judgment, including driving like a jerk. That’s NOT a capital offense.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Now we need some data on how many deaths nannies prevented and how many created

  • avatar

    Well, as someone who has prosecuted a few personal injury cases, the old cars were very dangerous. Windows, sharp edges, hitting that metal dashboard with a lap belt only. Ugly stuff.
    Today, a modern car with bags will allow a 65 mph walk away with just some upset, compared with the old car in a 40 mph intersection resulting in fracture and/or stitches.
    I base this on review of many, many files in a long term NYC personal injury law office. The historical files were much different than today, and to a large extent, have put much of “ambulance chasing” out of business, and that is a good thing. The medical records in the old cases were way more damage for way less wrecking.

    According to my accident reconstruction expert witness, a fatality will only be likely if the motorist is hit broadside on the driver’s door. Every other angle of a MODERN car is set to deform, bag or catch the occupant unless you are unlucky or hit a phone pole at 120.

    Want to see modern cars wreck ? Attend any LeMons race. The series has a very stout roll cage , five point harness, etc around the driver, but the cars, when hit, deform as engineered. I’d not want to run a 70’s roller in this kind of thing, I’d be way happer with a clapped out 90’s car in a “bump”. You can YouTube some great Lemons wrecks, but folks usually walk away.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Holy hand grenade Batman this comment system sucks.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Some things not mentioned yet. Improvements such as safety bead wheels and much better tires. Along with much better brake systems.
    I am glad that people don’t have the ‘freedom’ to buy a car or truck with single circuit brakes, non-safety bead wheels, bias ply tires and other ancient stuff.
    Long ago I got a book out of the library about auto crashes. In retrospect it was surprising that they let a little kid read it, there were a lot of gruesome post crash photos. It was about a research project, in the early 1950s, into auto crashes. At the time the driver, certainly if they were dead, was found to be the cause of a crash. The researchers arranged with law enforcement to go to undisturbed crash scenes. They found many crashes caused by mechanical problems. Failing brakes, tires that failed or came off the rim, and of course internal collisions due to no belts.
    Later a study by UCLA, where they crashed remote controlled vehicles into others and walls.
    This lead to the improved vehicles with have today.
    Sure there have been hiccups along the way, like the seat belt interlock, but I’ll take a ‘newer’ car over those nostalgia 50s and 60s stuff.

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