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View Diary: New study: In 14 states, gun deaths exceeded motor vehicle deaths (270 comments)

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  •  The post 2006 decline in vehicle related deaths (0+ / 0-)

    intrigued me. There have been steady declines over the years, but there have also been a few years with sharp declines, including 2008-2009.

    Before I continue, let me first cite the repeated exhortations here to practice safe driving.

    Reports indicate that declines in motor vehicle fatalities in recent years are due to a variety of factors, including drunk driving laws, seat belt usage, vehicle design and road related design. Certainly, each of these factors are important, as is the integrated whole, but I still wasn't satisfied. I think that sharp declines in past decades were due to seat belts, but were they still leading to yearly declines after 2006? Plus, the NYT link above attributes less than 1,000 saved lives in 2009 to declines in drunk driving fatalities. It seems to me that these 2 things were not likely sources of big declines in the late aughts.

    Could the sharp decline in motor vehicle fatalities in 2008 and 2009 be due to design elements? Leaving the driving lane either off the road or into oncoming traffic, is associated with the largest number of vehicle accident deaths. One thing that can help prevent this, Electronic stability control, has increased in usage, with regulations mandating increases after 2008. Plus, a 2006 study estimated that ESC could reduce vehicle accident fatalities by 10,000.

    This is roughly the amount by which fatalities dropped after 2006. Surely, ESC alone is not the reason vehicle accident deaths declined over the last decade. Other factors, as mentioned above, accounted for some of those improvements. Nevertheless, after my thorough 15 minute review of the field, I am willing to believe that electronic stability control has been a tremendous life saving addition to modern day vehicles.

    Anybody with more expertise care to shed light on this?

    BTW, I recently hit a deer in a 2014 vehicle when the deer entered a 4 lane highway ~50 feet in front of our vehicle traveling ~70 mph after dark. I didn't have time to hit the brakes. Maybe, I could have swerved, but like to think that I decided not to. At any rate, the vehicle did well. The deer died, while the grill and driver side quarter panel crumpled. My airbag went off, but I maintained control and pulled over to the shoulder. Nobody in the vehicle was hurt. It's a shame that it happened to the deer and a new vehicle, but we humans might have fared worse in an older ride.

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