With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, it is likely you, like millions
of other Americans, will be driving to visit friends and family. According
to AAA, Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest travel times of the year.
Almost one in six Americans travel at least 50 miles over the holiday weekend.
As you sit in the drivers seat, you will unfortunately travel on some of
the most dangerous roads in the industrialized world. This was not always
the case for the U.S. In 1990, U.S. vehicle fatality rates were about
10% lower than in Canada and Australia. Our fatality rates have fallen
since (mostly due to building safer cars), but fatality rates in other
countries have fallen faster. How did the U.S. fall behind? Over the past
30 years, Canada, Australia and much of Europe have implemented evidence-based
driving campaigns to reduce vehicle crashes and fatalities. The U.S. simply
has not kept up with the rest of the world. Currently, the vehicle fatality
rate in the United States is 40% higher than Canada and Australia. If
the United States stayed on track with the rest of the world, there would
be about 10,000 fewer vehicle related deaths each year.
What the rest of the world seems to know is this: Vehicle fatalities can
be attributed to driving speed and seatbelt use. Other countries tend
to have lower speed limits and more speed cameras to enforce speed laws.
Also, seatbelt use is more common in other countries than in the United
States. According to research done by the European Transport Research
Review, one in seven American drivers still do not use a seatbelt, which
is significantly higher than in European countries.
This holiday weekend, please remember to buckle up and watch your speed.
More information and vehicle fatality statistics can be found here: