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Today, the U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters released statistics showing the number of people killed in traffic accidents at an all time low. Early projections show that there has been an almost 10% drop in highway traffic deaths for the first 10 months of this year. I attribute this drop to (1) high gas prices, (2) safer vehicles, and (3) better highways.

Mrs. Peters said, “Our focus on safety…has led to one of the safest periods in our nation’s transportation history. Every American can be more confident than ever they will arrive at their destination safe and sound.”

These figures are way too high. Early estimates still show that approximately 31,110 people died in motor vehicle accidents from January through October 2008. That is unacceptable! Last year 34,502 died during that same 10-month period which is even worse.

The fatality rate per 100 million vehicles miles traveled for the first nine months of 2008 is 1.28, compared to 1.37 for 2007.

“For the second year in a row we are seeing historic lows in deaths on our nation’s roads,” Secretary Peters said. “While we are encouraged by these declines, our work is not nearly complete in making our safe transportation network even safer.”

The final counts for 2008 will be made available in the summer of 2009.

Let’s all try to drive defensively this Holliday season and not be in that final count.

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