Monday, May 2, 2011

Traffic Related Fatalities in the US, 1994-2009

I've mentioned this at least a couple of times in the past, but a tweet from @vabike reminded me that I need to look at the numbers again. Not that I relate traffic deaths to terrorism, but after seeing the below numbers you'd think we'd react more appropriately, say following the rules of the road for instance.

The figure below shows data, however grim, taken from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), highlighting fatalities caused by motor vehicles between 1994-2009.

Pardon my lack of plotting etiquette; that's number of fatalities on the ordinate with year on the abscissa.

One way to look at this is that there have been 411,574 deaths in the past 10-years due to motor vehicles. According to the latest census data, the population of Minneapolis is 382,578. So every 9-10 years or so the United States kills off the equivalent of the population of the city of Minneapolis with running errands and getting to and from work. Data is not further broken down to show how many of the now deceased individuals were drunk, texting, having sex, or road raging at the time of their 'accident,' but surely they're included in the totals.

The number of bicycle related deaths in a single year, by the way, ranges from 629 in 2003 to 833 back in 1995; bicyclists account for between 1.5-2% of all traffic related deaths, at least in the US, and during the past 16-years or so with 2010 excluded as the data is not yet available.

One can note the decline in the past few years, though how much of that can be due to the Great Recession we're experiencing I can only presume - someone should link an article, I know I've read one in recent past but my memory is fading as I grow older.

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