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Road deaths nationwide fell sharply in 2008

Posted Tuesday, Apr 7, 2009, 11:27 am in Employee News

Highway fatalities nationwide dropped 9 percent between 2007 to 2008—their lowest level in nearly 50 years, according to a story in The New York Times.

In a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA) report, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas showed the smallest drop in highway fatalities—1 percent. New England experienced the steepest drop—14 percent—despite Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, reporting some of the lowest rates of seat belt use. New Hampshire had the nation’s third-lowest rate of seat belt use. Rhode Island, at 72 percent, was also relatively low, and the state had the sharpest drop in the number of people using seat belts—7 percent. Connecticut, Maine and Vermont, the Times reported, all had rates above 80 percent, as did New Jersey and New York.

A nationwide drop of about 3.6 in vehicle miles traveled, rising gas prices, and stepped-up safety programs are credited with the overall decline, said the Times.

The NHTSA report showed Michigan had the highest percentage of motorists wearing seat belts—97.2 percent. (The New York Times)
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