The above data reflects accidents that took place between 2004 and 2008.
The drug scene and wasted lives -- see below --
There was a stunning (to me, anyway!) article in ther October 1, 209 Dayton Daily News. Authored by AP journalist Mike Stobble, it stated that in 2006 automobile accidents took 45,000 lives, while drug overdoses and long term organ damage accounted for some 39,000 deaths. Remarkable too, was that in 19 states, there were more drug-induced deaths than from auto accidents. These states were:
2. New Hampshire
3. Rhode Island
5. New York
6. New Jersey
The seminal legislative action that set in motion strict automobile safety regulations was the 1966 Vehicle National Traffic and Motor Safety Act. Beginning in 1968, this Act mandated that seatbelts, padded visors and dashboards, safety doors and hinges, impact absorbing steering columns, dual braking systems, and standard bumper height be installed in all new autos sold in the U.S. Critics, however, argued that these measures would do little to save lives and prevent injuries. History has proved them to be somewhat correct. As economist Sam Peltzman demonstrated in the mid-1970s, automobile safety devices resulted in “off-setting behavior” on the part of a number of motorists who engaged in more risky behavior as a result of the introduction of features that were designed to increase their chances of surviving a crash. And while seatbelts, soft interiors, and improved glass did reduced driver fatalities, risky behavior increased the chance that a bicyclist or pedestrian would be killed or injured.
With regard to the safety issues that followed, the most significant problems centered on drivers and passengers actually using their seat belts and the development and introduction of the air bag. In the former case, the federal government initially tried to force compliance with the mandate to install seat belt interlocks on all cars beginning in 1974, but due to public outcry, this measure would be repealed in 1976. However, it was federal pressure on the states to enforce the use of seat belts post-1990 that has led to tough seat belt laws in which local traffic officers can ticket offenders. With the automobile becoming increasingly safe, the current issue with SUVs – high bumper height and reduced visibilities – remains to be solved. Additionally, with each decade from the 1930s forward, more emphasis was placed on drinking and drunk driving, as operator error superseded vehicle design limitations as causes of accidents. A key advance was that of the widespread use of the breathalyzer, a device that was pioneered first in Britain and only later used in traffic enforcement in the U.S.