NHTSA's freshly released 2013 Fatality Analysis Reporting System study shows a total of 32,719 deaths on the roads, a drop of 3.1 percent from 2012 and a decrease of around 25 percent since 2004. However, a handful of the statistics suggest there are still a ways to go to make things more secure for everyone, especially bicyclists.
Automotive fatalities continue to drop year-over-year, which is perhaps not surprising in and of itself. What is surprising, however, is a study that notes a massive falloff in the number of motoring deaths. According to The Wall Street Journal, the total number of road fatalities in 2009 was 33,963 compared to 43,510 in 2005 – a 22 percent decline. That is the steepest rate of decline since automobiles entered mass production in the beginning part of the 20th century. So what gives?
Safety doesn't sell cars. At least that's what Detroit executives walked around saying back in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The whole of them were convinced that if you even mentioned the word "safety" in a marketing campaign it would imply that cars were unsafe. In fact, it took a crusader like Ralph Nader to stand up to the auto industry and say enough with the death traps, like he did when he published his infamous Unsafe at Any Speed (only one chapter is about the Corvair!) in 1965. Like him
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