According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 41,059 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2007, the lowest number of traffic deaths per year in over 10 years. That is certainly good news! Some of the drop is undoubtedly due to efforts of the traffic safety community, while some may be associated with the economy. The exact explanations will require additional analyses of the data. But, regardless of why the death rate has dropped, we must not lose sight of the big picture, and forget that 41,000 deaths - one every 13 minutes - is a major public health crisis.
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans from ages one to 34, and they affect countless friends and family members whenever they occur. Yet, motorists, citizens, key stakeholders and our society in general, are complacent to these ongoing tragedies. Most of us have accepted these preventable deaths as the cost of enjoying the mobility we clearly enjoy.
One death should be unacceptable; one every thirteen minutes is outrageous!