Drop in Fatal Collisions
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that the declining death rate in vehicle crashes since 1994 is due to the protection provided by improvements in automotive design. It is not due to enforcement, changes in highway design standards or increased driver competence. It comments on our increasingly hazardous traffic environment and cautions against the increased travel speeds favoured by today's drivers.
I know that during my years in traffic enforcement, I often commented that if I stopped a vehicle every time I observed an infraction I would have difficulty getting more than a few kilometers from the office. Today when I drive in the right hand lane at the speed limit I feel like a rock in the stream watching the water flow around me. Why is it that virtually no one follows the speed limit?
How often have you seen a reference to a "killer highway" in a newspaper crash report? This always conjures up the vision of asphalt lurking around the corner waiting to spring a nasty surprise on some poor unsuspecting driver. Ten years as a collision analyst showed me that in every multiple vehicle collision someone was driving down the highway minding their own business when they were hit by another driver, not the highway.
Have you ever met anyone that would admit to being less than a better than average driver? The next time you sit down in a group, ask this question and listen to the answers. By definition half of us are below average but few people think that they are part of that half. I see the number of mistakes that I make in my driving every day and I am trying my best not to make them. I marvel at those drivers who don't know or just don't care. Sometimes it is only good luck that prevents a collision, and luck is not an acceptable component of traffic safety.
For those of you who think that a few kilometers an hour is of no consequence, the video certainly gives you something to think about.