‘Driving in America Extraordinarily Dangerous’

I have taken the title of this post from a recent headline in The Economist.

Here’s the link to The Economist’s article:

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21656668-despite-improvements-driving-america-remains-extraordinarily-dangerous-road-kill

On average, traffic deaths per 100,000 people in the USA are well above that of other western countries. However the article makes clear that there is a correlation between population density and the traffic death rate. Sparsely populated states have a far higher death rate than those which are densely populated. The Economist conjectures a number of reasons why this might be so, including higher speeds on average in sparsely populated states, but the article does state that no clear link exists between speed limits and crashes.

It’s time the USA woke up to this problem.The misery caused by traffic crashes is avoidable. I suggest greater emphasis on speeds appropriate to their situation and here traffic calming has a part to play. Municipalities need to step up their game and spend more on traffic calming particularly in smaller population cities and counties. Because these smaller municipalities have constrained budgets, the ‘wide open’ states must play a much bigger role in providing more funds for traffic safety and traffic calming.

Peter Partington

July 2015

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