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Wednesday, May 24 2017 @ 03:28 PM UTC

AAA’s Latest Road Safety Report Ignores the Obvious: We Should Be Driving Less

Biking ElsewhereBy Stephen Miller, Streets Blog

Among developed nations, the United States ranks near the bottom for traffic safety. And it’s not getting better, as the number of annual traffic deaths climbs above the 40,000 mark. To reverse this trend, the AAA Foundation for Road Safety this week released a report that prioritizes six road design changes it says would do the most to reduce the death toll. There’s just one problem: AAA’s report doesn’t consider the idea that, to save lives, we should be driving less.

There are two commonly used measuring sticks to assess traffic safety. One is tracking how many people are killed per mile driven, which frames safety efforts in terms of make driving safer. The U.S. has improved a lot on this front over time, according to OECD statistics cited by AAA, but at 1.14 deaths per 100 million miles driven, it still has a middling record — better than South Korea and the Czech Republic, which clock in above 2.0, but far worse than Sweden, which has just 0.52 deaths per 100 million miles driven.

The other metric is how many people are killed per capita, which tends to lead to solutions that reduce exposure to driving and encourage walking, bicycling, and transit. It’s here that the U.S. really fails: America’s fatality rate of 10.6 deaths per 100,000 people is far behind other developed nations and disastrously worse than world leaders like Sweden and the United Kingdom, where fewer than three of every 100,000 people die on the road.
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http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/05/03/aaas-latest-road-safety-report-ignores-the-obvious-we-should-be-driving-less/

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