Yankee Superiority (not the baseball kind)
In my last posting I went on and on about safety. After writing that diatribe, I went looking for some facts about highway fatalities. I went to the NHTSA website and found a study of highway fatalities, by state that covered 1975 to 2002. For the country as a whole, fatalities fell from 44,000 to 42,000, a 4% decline. But the drop in fatalities per 100 million miles traveled dropped a whopping 55%. Chalk that up to much better cars, and some acknowledgement of the horrors of drinking and driving.
As I looked at the state-by-state specifications, I was really shocked. The overall best results were turned in by Vermont. They experienced a 45% reduction in deaths, and an 81% reduction in deaths per 100 million miles, leaving them with .81 deaths per 100 million miles. Here’s the real shocker. Massachusetts. We were number two, and just barely. Massachusetts saw a 47% reduction in total deaths, a 69% reduction in deaths per 100 million miles, and .86 deaths per 100 million miles. That’s almost half the national average of 1.5 per 100 million. And for the record, New Hampshire was third, Connecticut and Rhode Island were tied for fourth. Maine, for some reason, was way off the mark, though slightly better than the national average.
How can this be? Aren’t we the most vicious, arrogant, obnoxious meat-headed drivers anywhere? Aren’t our roads the most miserable? And the weather alone should be responsible for plenty of traffic fatalities. How can this entire region, and Massachusetts in particular, be so far ahead of the rest of the country? Is it all the Saabs and Volvos we drive? Better enforcement of traffic laws? More stringent safety inspections? Better hospitals to save the near-dead? Fewer pickup trucks? In the absence of a better explanation, I suppose my parochial Yankee arrogance dictates that we’re just better than everyone else. Of course! To see the statistics, go to http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/TSFAnn/TSF2002Final.pdf .