Traffic fatalities in 2008 dropped to their lowest level since 1961, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports, "Drop in Highway Deaths Linked to Recession."

The recession and high gasoline prices were cited as primary cause for the drop, because Americans are driving less. Past recessions have also seen substantial drops in traffic fatalities. The 1973-1974 recession yielded a reduction of 16% in traffic fatalities; the 1981-82 recession saw a drop of 11%.

Other factors also contributed to the drop, including record high seat belt use, stronger drunk driving enforcement and the work of advocacy groups promoting safer driving habits. Seat belt use in 2008 reached 83%. Most significantly, the number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled dropped as well from 1.36% to 1.28%, which is the lowest on record. In sum, Americans drove less in 2008, while also driving safer.

Lexington, Kentucky accident lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and families in accident and personal injury cases; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

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