This past month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported motor vehicle fatalities sharply declined in 2009. At an all time low the fatality rate reported was only 1.13 deaths per every 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Incredibly the total number of deaths is nearing those of 1950 in a time of less traffic, lower populations and shorter commutes.
The report shows a decrease in fatalities of 9.7% while miles traveled from 2008 to 2009 still showed a slight increase. Massachusetts remains one of the safest states to drive as motor vehicle fatalities fell from 354 in 2008 to 334 in 2009. Additionally the number of deaths attributed to alcohol decreased from 120 to 108. The government attributes the fatality decline to many improvements and precautions including: an advancement in vehicle design, increased use of seat belts, and standard air bags included in vehicles that previously lacked air bags.
These statistical improvements are great, however it is important to realized even these numbers can be better. The number of distracted drivers on the road will hopefully decrease further with the recent texting ban. While driving, remember you have the lives of many in your hands. Put the cell phone away, set down your mascara/ razor and focus on the road.
Potholes plague drivers across the United States creating an uncomfortable and bumpy commute for many. According to a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group drivers spend an average $335 per year repairing pothole damages to their vehicles totaling $67 billion dollars throughout the nation. The Research Group published its results in Road Work Ahead – Holding Government Accountable for Fixing America’s Crumbling Roads and Bridges. The researchers found Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Montana and Nevada to be the state with best road conditions. The states with the nation’s worst roads were identified as Alaska, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont and California.
Massachusetts will be working to repair roads and bridges as summer and construction season begins. The report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group discovered the average U.S. bridge 43 years old and about 185,000 of them are older than 50 years. Governor Deval Patrick has been pushing the Accelerated Bridge Program, an eight-year $3 billion project to improve bridge conditions across the Bay State. This Project will reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges in the state system and create thousands of construction jobs on bridge projects across the state.