Here’s some good news from the auto world (a rare occurrence over the past few months), 2008 traffic fatalities are at record lows.
The National Safety Council annual report states that there were 39,800 deaths last year related to motor vehicles in 2008. That’s an 8% drop in the number of fatalities over the previous year. In case you’re wondering, it has nothing to do with people driving less due to increases in gas prices or some other, normal, outside factor. It turns out that the ratio of deaths per vehicle miles driven has also dropped.
According to the National Safety Council there are three factors that contributed to the record low levels. First off, cars and trucks are getting better and better in the safety department, as shown each year by the high safety numbers posted in NHTSA and IIHS crash testing. Also contributing to the record drop are public education and the visible enforcement of safety laws.
There are other upsides to this, in addition to a lower overall death toll. Fewer deaths mean fewer medical expenses and property damage as well as lower loss of wages.
So, good job everybody, and it’s not very frequently that I say that about my fellow drivers … because really, the stuff that I still see on the road makes me shake my head. Actually, I’m surprised the fatality rate hasn’t gone up.