Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reducing Highway Deaths: Major Factors that Continue to Drive Vehicle Fatalities

Vehicle fatalities declined to their lowest levels in 2009. While that is good news, there is still more work to be done to reduce avoidable deaths. Out of the 33,808 people who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2009, alcohol, speeding, and lack of safety belt use were key contributing factors. Plus, crashes are disproportionately high that impact children and teens. In order to reduce the deaths on the roads even further, it important to see where the problems exist and what else can be done.

Earlier this fall, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) released final fatality data from 2009, which has since been summarized in various categories by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Consumer Reports reviewed their findings and their own past reports to offer a look back at roadway risks last year, while highlighting areas where lives can be saved in the future.

Among the factors: alcohol, speeding and children and teens. According to Consumer Reports:

"Teens drive less than almost all age groups (besides older people), but crash deaths are disproportionately high due to the combination of immaturity and lack of experience. Graduated licensing laws have been instrumental in helping reduce deaths of teens. Last year, Congress introduced a bill called the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (STAND UP), which would establish minimum requirements for GDL programs in all 50 states. Studies have shown that in states that have adopted GDL laws, crash rates have declined between 10 and 30 percent."

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