Unanticipated Rise In US Traffic Fatality Rates

An article on Jalopnik asks “Why are America's traffic deaths rising so fast?”

The piece delves into a number of possible factors including more people driving and driving more often. But that would normally not be reflected in the death rate, meaning the number of fatalities per millions of miles traveled. But the rate is rising, a trend opposite that of the past six decades.

One factor not mentioned in the article (but may be in the linked NHTSA report): increasing levels of driver distraction. Many of the electronic gizmos that can lead to driver distraction either didn't exist or weren't as ubiquitous as they are today. Once they reached critical mass, and tying in with the 'grafted to the hand' nature of smart phones used by teens and younger adults, the negative effects of chronic 24/7 connectedness is now making itself known by way of higher traffic fatalities. More than a few studies have indicated that driving while using these devices is tantamount to driving while intoxicated. If that is indeed the case it would be the equivalent of a substantial increase of people driving under the influence.

Maybe the way to help solve this problem would be to push this idea: “Put down the damn phone and drive, you damnfoolidjit!”