Traffic Fatalities Accelerate Nationwide

After six consecutive years of decline, traffic deaths are rising dramatically across America, reports Ashley Halsey III.
October 3, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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After dropping to their lowest point in sixty years, traffic deaths jumped in the first half of 2012 according to new federal data. "The number of roadway fatalities jumped by 13.4 percent in the first three months of this year," reports Halsey, "and the total for April, May and June was 5.3 percent higher than in 2011."

"Highway safety experts were at a loss to explain why, but most speculated that rebounding economic confidence may have put more people on the roads."  

"Traffic deaths drop in a recession, sometimes significantly," said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "People who lose their jobs or are worried they may lose them don't take as many optional trips, like driving at night or on weekends, or going to parties or the bars. Once the economy improves, that driving comes back."

The historic decline in traffic fatalities began before the economic turmoil, however, notes Halsey. 

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Published on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 in The Washington Post
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