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The Cost of Living

10:46 AM EDT on September 19, 2006

From the Empire Zone:

Politicians talk a lot about crime, and of course the issue is very important.

An estimated 16,692 murders and non-negligent manslaughter deaths were reported by the F.B.I in 2005, a 3.4 percent increase over the previous year that is troubling police forces and criminologists.

But what about the less-sexy subject of highway safety?

The number of highway deaths also rose last year, claiming far more victims: 43,443, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

So will we be seeing a slew of highway safety campaign ads this November? Or be treated to policy proposals for compstat for cars?

From Mobilizing the Region:

New data released in August by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show 2005 to be the deadliest year for traffic fatalities since 1990, with 43,443 people killed on America's roads. 2005 marks the first year since the mid-1980s that traffic deaths per mile driven (a metric frequently used by government officials for claims of improved traffic safety) increased over the previous year.

Data from earlier years shows that vehicle crashes are far and away the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and rank 7th on the list of all causes of premature death (heart disease and cancer are the top two). U.S. vehicle deaths outstrip firearm deaths by around 15,000 each year.

2005 was an especially bad year for Americans on foot or bicycling. Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities jumped 4.7 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively, compared to a 0.8 percent increase in fatalities among drivers and their passengers.

The picture in the tri-state region was mixed. Total traffic fatalities in New York City grew by 10.6 percent from 2004 to 2005, while pedestrian fatalities nudged up slightly, by 2.7 percent.

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