How Come It’s Suddenly Less “Safe” Out There? by Eric Peters

Eric Peters explores a paradox: cars are supposedly safer, but accident rates are going up. From Peters on a guest post at

New cars are – supposedly – “safer” than ever. Right? That’s what the government has been telling us.

Each new fatwa – back-up cameras, tire pressure monitors, all those air bags – forced down our throats accompanied by the ululations of the regulatory ayatollahs that they would make cars . . . safer.

But then the news. Motor vehicle fatalities are suddenly going up.

And not just a little bit, either.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety (there it is, again!) Administration, motor vehicle fatalities are up by 8 percent – and that’s for 2015, the most recent year for which complete data are available. Preliminary data for 2016 suggest an even sharper spike – possibly into the double digits.


The Usual Explanations don’t seem to cover it.

“Speeding,” for instance, is hard to blame – although it probably will be. But there’s no evidence that people, in general, are driving any faster now than they were three or four years ago. Speed limits haven’t changed much – on highways or secondary roads – since the late 1990s, when Congress finally repealed the Nixonian 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit.

And that was almost 20 years ago.

The “speed kills” crowd warned of a massive uptick in road deaths as a result of repealing the NMSL – but it didn’t happen. Highway fatalities actually declined even as people were allowed to drive faster.

That is, were allowed to drive as fast as they had been driving prior to the repeal.

Arguably, the roads got safer because people could pay more attention to their driving – and to the driving of others – than worrying about radar traps and being ready at any moment to slam on the brakes.

To continue reading: How Come It’s Suddenly Less “Safe” Out There?


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