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No Blood for Travel! July 31, 2007

Posted by federalist in Transportation.
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One of the best essays I read last month, “My Only Son” by Leon de Winter, contrasted the price we pay in lives for efficient transportation by motor vehicle with the price we are paying to fight terror and build democracy in the Middle East.  An article today provides some interesting statistics on the former.

The NHTSA last week released preliminary figures for highway fatalities in 2006, and heralded a 2% decline in overall motor-vehicle fatalities to the lowest absolute number (42,642) in five years and the lowest rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled the government has ever recorded.

Motorcycles, on the other hand, have not enjoyed the same improvements in life-saving technology that have permeated the passenger car market.

Adjusted for miles traveled, [motorcycle] riders were 34 times more likely to die in a highway accident than occupants of passenger cars in 2004, according to the NHTSA study.

NB: Motorcyclists can still significantly boost their odds by not drinking and driving, and by wearing a helmet:

[A] majority of riders die with blood-alcohol concentrations above the 0.08 level now designated as the legal limit. … About 66% of riders who died in helmet-optional states weren’t wearing head protection….

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