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Suicides Now More Plentiful Than Traffic Deaths

Good news from NHTSA on the driving front:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) early projections, the number of traffic fatalities fell three percent between 2009 and 2010, from 33,808 to 32,788. Since 2005, fatalities have dropped 25 percent, from a total of 43,510 fatalities in 2005. The same estimates also project that the fatality rate will be the lowest recorded since 1949, with 1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from the 1.13 fatality rate for 2009. The decrease in fatalities for 2010 occurred despite an estimated increase of nearly 21 billion miles in national vehicle miles traveled.
A regional breakdown showed the greatest drop in fatalities occurred in the Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, where they dropped by 12 percent. Arizona, California and Hawaii had the next steepest decline, nearly 11 percent.

Photo: iStockphoto

NHTSA claims the continuing improvement is due to a variety of factors including: stronger traffic-safety laws; high-visibility enforcement; rigorous vehicle-safety programs; public awareness campaigns; campaigns against drunk driving and distracted driving, and the encouragement of seat-belt use. FWIW, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is also more of a fan of child car seats than we are.
While traffic fatalities remain a top U.S. killer, the historical decrease is impressive and heartening. Did you know that there are now fewer traffic deaths each year in the U.S. than suicides?
(HT: Collin Campbell)