Driving is becoming safer, but don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. A new study has shown that the increased safety is not because of drivers, it’s due almost entirely to improvements in vehicle design.
The death rate per million miles traveled has fallen almost every year since 1966 (except for an upward blip in 2005). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety predicts in a new study that it would have gone up in the 10 years ending in 2004 if it weren’t for improvements in car technology. That’s because drunk driving rates haven’t really changed, seat belt use is slow to increase, and people are driving faster on average now than they used to.
The concern of the Institute is that people will look at the increasing safety and think that they are doing everything right. The organization favors increased pressure on drivers to buckle up, sober up and slow down.