Sunday, August 23, 2015

Road Kill 1: "Despite improvements, driving in America remains extraordinarily dangerous."

From the article.

"Roads get wider and busier and less friendly to pedestrians. And all of the development based around cars, like big sprawling shopping malls. Everything seems to be designed for the benefit of the automobile and not the benefit of the human being." -- Bill Bryson

Not to mention it being hazardous to one's health.

Traffic accidents: Road kill ... Despite improvements, driving in America remains extraordinarily dangerous (The Economist)

 ... Drunk-driving is just one of the perils of American roads. In 2014 some 32,675 people were killed in traffic accidents. In 2013, the latest year for which detailed data are available, some 2.3m were injured—or one in 100 licensed drivers. These numbers are better than a few decades ago, but still far worse than in any other developed country. For every billion miles Americans drive, roughly 11 people are killed. If American roads were as safe per-mile-driven as Ireland’s, the number of lives saved each year would be equivalent to preventing all the murders in the country.

In most of the rich world, far fewer people die in road accidents these days; cars are much safer than they were, with crumple zones, airbags, anti-locking brakes and adaptive cruise control. Use of seatbelts is widespread. But compared with other countries, America has not improved much. And in some ways things have been getting worse. For example, between 2009 and 2013 pedestrian deaths jumped by 15% as the economy recovered. In Britain, over the same period, the number fell by a fifth.

Many states are as safe to drive in as Europe: New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts all have low accident rates, for example. But in rural, sparsely-populated areas, where people drive long distances on long empty roads, the death rates can be shocking. In Wyoming in 2014, 131 people were killed in fatal crashes—a traffic-accident death rate higher than in most of sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, many deaths involve drivers who refuse to wear seatbelts.

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