Monday, April 06, 2009

Highway Safety

From MSNBC, a report highway deaths are the lowest since 1961 (when population was probably 170,000,000 and I suspect we drove less per person:
The recession and $4 per gallon gas meant people drove less to save more. Experts also cited record high seat belt use, tighter enforcement of drunken driving laws and the work of advocacy groups that encourage safer driving habits.
Safety is the interplay of many factors, most of which are ignored in the piece. As an ex-bureaucrat, I'd point to the fact government bureaucrats contributed to the following:
safer roads (I've only to mention NY rte 369 as an example)
safer cars (particularly seat belts and air bags)
safer drivers (better licensing rules)
The biggest contribution may have been simply educational, collecting statistics and doing crash tests. It's a long time since Robert McNamara's Ford Motors tried and failed to sell safety to the consumer.

Of course, I don't want to go overboard on crediting bureaucrats; the fact remains that at least 85 percent of American drivers are above average.

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