Highway Safety

Is the death rate increasing again?


Although traffic accidents kill or injure millions of Americans annually, significant safety improvements have been made in recent years. Between 1969 and 1993, road fatalities fell from 53,000 to 40,000, due to such factors as seat belts, air bags, minimum drinking ages and lower speed limits. Nevertheless, safety experts worry that the highway toll may be heading upward again. Much of their concern centers on Congress, where Republicans want to give states more power to set local speed limits and drinking ages, as well as regulate the use of safety equipment like seat belts and motorcycle helmets. Meanwhile, no action has been taken on a proposed federal law to tighten licensing of drivers under 21 - the most accident-prone age group.

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