Economic Downturn Cited in Decline of Traffic Deaths

Traffic-related deaths last year were the lowest in 47 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Figures released today by the NHTSA show that 37,313 people lost their lives on U.S. roads last year, a drop of 9.1% from 2007 and the lowest since 1961.

The $4-per-gallon gas prices of early 2008 followed by the economic downturn meant Americans drove a lot less last year. While the economy played a role, so, too, did higher seat-belt use, stricter enforcement and safer driving. The number of deaths per 100 million miles driven was the lowest on record.

While these figures represent some good news, they are only statistics and another painful reminder for those who have lost loved ones in car accidents. There are still more than 100 people who die each day on our roads. That’s 100 families that suddenly lose someone they love each and every day. I live near a rural area that has many narrow two-lane roads and with it, a great number of roadside memorials. Each of these memorials is a reminder of just how fragile and precious life is.


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