Decline in Traffic Deaths A Step In the Right Direction

The Department of Transportation just announced roadway deaths are the lowest they’ve been in 60 years despite an increase in the number miles driven. Statistics show that traffic deaths fell by 9.7% from 2008 to 2009 and the 33,808 deaths is the lowest since 1950. The decline is a clear signal of the hard work being done by to change our traffic safety culture. Increased seat belt usage, safer road designs and stronger enforcement of laws are all contributors to the decline. However, we have to keep in mind the most important fact – 33,808 people still died on our roads last year and that’s still an outrage. I'm pleased that 3,600 fewer people died in 2009, but there are still issues that threaten our safety on the road. Distracted driving is a major problem that will get worse as new in-vehicle technologies are developed. Cell phones, GPS navigation systems, other passengers and pets are all potential distractions and taking your eyes off the road for one second is all it takes to cause a crash. I think Secretary LaHood’s reaction to this news sums things up well, "We could not be happier, but we are not going to sit back on our laurels. We have a long, long way to go."