Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Traffic Deaths Outpace Passenger Mile Growth

Things are increasingly coming back to "normal" and that includes the increase in driving by individuals. As more and more people get vaccinated and restrictions are removed, people are eager to get out on the roads. Sadly what is also increasing even faster is road deaths as tracked by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and covered in this Ars Technica piece. Secretary Buttigieg described it in the following way:

"This is a crisis. More than 20,000 people died on U.S. roads in the first six months of 2021, leaving countless loved ones behind. We cannot and should not accept these fatalities as simply a part of everyday life in America," said United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "Today we are announcing that we will produce the Department’s first ever National Roadway Safety Strategy to identify action steps for everyone working to save lives on the road.
The attitudes to vaccines and to traffic deaths are very similar in that they both center around personal freedom. It appears that we have become inured to death in everyday life and that perhaps is why it's so hard to make changes to our infrastructure if not our attitudes toward our transportation system. The question is would our indifference seep into other things. Aviation is amazing in that we have a zero tolerance for preventable incidences. Is it because it's professionalized? Or is it because the cost of the equipment is so high, it focuses those in power to protect the assets of business if not the people of business. 

Our return to normal should not mean an acceptance of a higher car death rate, but for some reason I think it will.