After alarming increases in U.S. traffic fatalities in 2015 and 2016, data just released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows a decrease in the number of people who died in car crashes in 2017. A decrease, for sure, but still a shocking number: 37,133, or about one-third the population of West Palm Beach, Florida.
The same is true for Billings, Montana, as well as North Charleston, South Carolina and Manchester, New Hampshire.
The 1.8 percent drop in road deaths comes on the heels of a 6.5 percent increase in 2016 and an 8.4 percent spike in 2015. Have we suddenly become safer drivers? It seems so.
Have you ever bought a secondhand car, only to find the previous owner forgot his or her favorite CD in the stereo? Well, that didn’t happen to a Kentucky man.
That Volkswagen owner’s discovery is just one of the weird news stories arising from a polar vortex-plagued world. Elsewhere, officials warn of mammal tongue baths, and a politician practices bad automotive PR.
So… what did you get up to last weekend? Probably nothing like what the founder of Skatterbrane (Guitar) Pickups, Rod Kinkade, did. He lost his temper with a group of professional cyclists who were out on a training ride and he rammed one of them with his Oldsmobile Aurora, nearly killing the victim. It was completely unprovoked and he would have gotten away with it if a couple of brilliant men hadn’t run him down and brought him to justice. Now he’s been charged with felony assault. He admitted to the incident, and he’s going down, make no mistake about it.
It’s also possible that none of the above is true.
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- Lorenzo A union in itself doesn't mean failure, collective bargaining would mean failure.
- Ajla Why did pedestrian fatalities hit their nadir in 2009 and overall road fatalities hit their lowest since 1949 in 2011? Sedans were more popular back then but a lot of 300hp trucks and SUVs were on the road starting around 2000. And the sedans weren't getting smaller and slower either. The correlation between the the size and power of the fleet with more road deaths seems to be a more recent occurrence.
- Jeff_M It's either a three on the tree OR it's an automatic. It ain't both.
- Lorenzo I'm all in favor of using software and automation to BUILD cars, but keep that junk off my instrument panel, especially the software enabled interactive junk. Just give me the knobs and switches so I can control the vehicle, with no interconnectivity of any kind.
- MaintenanceCosts Modern cars detach people from their speed too much. The combination of tall ride height, super-effective sound insulation, massive power, and electronic aids makes people quite unaware of just how much kinetic energy is nominally under their control while they watch a movie on their phone with one hand and eat a Quarter Pounder with the other. I think that is the primary reason we are seeing an uptick in speed-related fatalities, especially among people NOT in cars.With that said, I don't think Americans have proven responsible enough to have unlimited speed in cars. Although I'd hate it, I still would support limiters that kick in at 10 over in the city and 20 over on the freeway, because I think they would save more than enough lives to be worth the pain.