High Gas Prices Mean Fewer Traffic Deaths

People are changing where, when, and how they drive
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 25, 2008 11:37 AM CDT
Chart shows year-to-year monthly changes in gasoline sales, miles driven, and vehicle fatalities;   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The number of traffic deaths may drop this year to their lowest since Kennedy was president—thanks in large part to higher gas prices, the AP reports. As they rose above $3.20 a gallon, fatalities plummeted 22.1% in March and 17.9% in April, a study found. The data suggest a “tipping point” in gas prices where drivers drastically changed their habits.

Americans drove 12.2 billion fewer miles in June than the year before, but the study’s author said that driving behavior also comes into play. Said one health and safety expert: "It's really very interesting that with all these efforts that have gone into building safer highways, safer cars, better enforcement ... this really dramatic change we're seeing is due to economics, to the price of gasoline."