Traffic Deaths Surge in First Quarter of 2012
Overall road fatalities are still well below the record highs of 2005.
An estimated 7,630 people died from January through March 2012, up from 6,720 during the same time in 2011. It was the second-largest quarterly increase in traffic deaths since 1975; the largest was in 1979.
Still, the results from one quarter aren't enough to drop everything in shock; since the agency began tracking data in 1975, the graphs display a regular seesaw effect. NHTSA said the warmer winter may have caused more people to drive than during a normal winter season -- as a nation, we drove 9.7 billion miles during the first quarter, up 1.4 percent -- but that not enough data exist to make a serious projection for the rest of 2012.
Annual deaths have been down significantly since a peak in 2005, when the agency recorded more than 43,000. In the first quarter of 2006, deaths reached a high of 9,558. In 2011, road traffic declined to its lowest level since 2003, and traffic deaths also reached a low of 32,310, the lowest on national record since 1949. Two particular types of accidents, including veering off the road and crossing over an opposing lane, make up about 55 percent of all fatal crashes.
And if it seems like you're just reading a bunch of numbers on a screen, consider this: More people died on U.S. roads in three months than all the U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan over a decade. That's not what we'd call relief.
Drunk drivers each year also kill about 3x more people than handguns do; you don't see that painted all over the media like gun control posts are....
The increase in traffic deaths is simple to explain with the following observations:
1. More cars on the road
2. An aging population
3. No drivers education in schools anymore
4. A general increase in the lack of consideration and empathy for others (road rage)
5. A feeling of immortality and insensitivity about death, largely among younger drivers
6. Deterioration of infrastructure (roads are falling apart)
7. More drunk and drug-influenced drivers on the road
8. Decline in vehicle inspections to find unsafe vehicles
9. And MAINLY, increase in cell phone use, texting, and other distracted driver behaviors
This trend is NOT due to unsafely built cars. Cars are safer now than ever before. It is the driving skills and attentiveness of the driving public that has deteriorated.
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