Following the tragic shooting in a movie theater in Colorado, people may feel fearful about going to the movies. StreetsBlog.org made an insightful point about the hesitation many people have in wake of the ghastly Aurora massacre: While the fear and hesitation is understandable, the most dangerous part of going to the movies is getting in your car and driving there.
NHTSA released an early estimate of traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2012, with frightening results. An estimated 7,630 people died in car crashes during these three months, an increase of 13.5% compared to the first quarter of 2011. The miles traveled increased as well, but only by 1.4%, certainly not accounting for the 13.5% increase in fatalities.
If these projections are realized, this will indicate the second largest increase in fatalities since NHTSA first started recording traffic fatalities in 1975. The largest increase in fatalities was in the first quarter of 1979 with a 15.3% in the number of traffic related deaths.
The 2012 increase in fatalities is following a historic downtrend in traffic fatalities over the past few years.
Were the increased fatalities due to texting while driving? Long stretches of road inviting drivers to speed? Younger, less experienced drivers? Tired driving?
Whatever the cause of the increase in fatalities, creating safer roads is critical to prevent fatalities going forward. Traffic calming is key in preventing accidents. Study after study on speed humps, radar speed signs, and other traffic calming solutions all lead to the same conclusion: traffic calming reduces accidents, and when they do happen, reduces the severity of the outcome.
Solutions such as speed humps that compel drivers to slow down, or speed display signs that return driver focus to the road, are integral to protecting drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Safer roads = Better driving = Less accidents = Fewer deaths
We can save lives.