Population and Speed Limits Contribute to On the Road Deaths



A recent study released by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, compares road deaths to other causes of death in each state. Research relied on 2013 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Crash fatalities in 2013 represented 1.3 percent of fatalities from all causes in the U.S. The U.S. had 10.4 road crash fatalities per 100,000 people, as compared with 193.3 from heart diseases, 185 from cancer, 47.2 from lung diseases, 40.8 from strokes, and 26.8 from Alzheimer’s disease. The highest rate of fatal road crashes per 100,000 people was 22.6 in Montana and the lowest rate of 3.1 is in the District of Columbia. 

The five states with the highest rates were Montana, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia and Alabama

The five with the lowest rates were the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

The study indicates that states with more open roads and lower populations have significantly higher road fatality rates than states with denser populations and lower speed limits. Drivers need to be reminded that speed and complacency are critical factors in catastrophic crashes. It is critical that fleets educate drivers about the effects of speed and fatigue on safe driving. Additionally, the utilization of tracking systems (telematics) to ensure that drivers stay within posted speed limits and reduce the number of near-miss incidents such as hard braking and lane departure is critical.

During the winter months weather becomes a huge factor on rural interstates and in mountainous regions. This is a good time of year to talk with drivers about how dangerous driving can be and why they need to take extra precautions while out on the roadways. Additionally, drivers should be properly trained and empowered to make the safest decisions on the roadways that they travel. Many of the worst crashes are associated with either huge amounts of snow or very limited visibility. Drivers should understand that it is much better to be late than not arrive at all.

As the seasons change, bringing inclement weather conditions, it is critical to ensure your drivers have the training to safely navigate the roads. Fatalities can be prevented. Contact your HUB transportation advisor who can provide safety training, tips and management tools to keep your fleet moving safely. 

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