Roadway fatalities have been dropping in the US for years, despite a slight uptick last year to 32,719 traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But that number is still well within pre-1950 rates. Thanks to safer cars and stricter regulations, it's safer than ever to be on the road.
While people 25 years and older without a high school diploma actually saw a spike in traffic accident deaths in the last decade, researches noted that being college educated doesn't necessarily make someone a safer driver. Safer cars are expensive, and better educated Americans tend to be wealthier. Less educated drivers tend to be poorer and tend to own older, less mechanically sound vehicles. Their cars have lower crash ratings and less features like side curtain air bags and automatic braking. Researchers noted that the number of emergency rooms in poor and rural areas have also declined. Poor people are also more likely to live in areas where infrastructure is crumbling and have less political clout to get anything done about dangerous road conditions.