Driving Death Rate

It fell sharply in 2012, the latest year for which data were studied by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Assuming Fox News accurately summarized the study, I have a couple questions.

Improved vehicle designs and safety technology have a lot to do with the reduced risk, but a weak economy that led to reductions in driving may also have played a role….

Well, yeah. This is why I’d rather see the death rates per (million? hundred thousand?) miles driven. The Edsel in its half-day might have had a very low rate per million sold, too. Or a sky high rate. Four of the cars the Institute identified as having no deaths in 2012 were luxury cars—which won’t have as many miles driven per model as a middle-class car like Honda Accord or a Ford Taurus.

Then there’s what the Institute used for their baseline: 48 deaths over the 2008-2009 time frame. I have to wonder, given events in the latter half of 2008 and extending through 2009, how many of those 48 were due to design and technology and how many were due to driving while distracted by distraught and/or suicide by driving accident. One such death would skew the results by two per centage points.

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