Motor Vehicle Deaths Topped 40,000 Again in 2017

Are there any theories why the vehicle death rate is so high, given all the new safety features on newer cars? Are drivers less skilled now? Less concerned about safety, thinking the safety gadgets will save them? Higher power engines? I seem to notice more aggressive driving now than 5-10 years ago. More honking, etc. I wonder what the reason is?

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In high school journalism we learned about the 5 w’s that need to be in every article. Who, what, when, where, and why. I still rate articles according to how well they answer those questions and this one flunks.


I think you’ve gotten to the root of the problem.
IMHO a long sustained unstable economy combined with decades of a society that in schools and at home has placed no value on personal responsibility and has imbued the culture of “me”, has created a society where far too many individuals care only about themselves. That breeds the kind of irresponsibility and aggression you describe. Kids for a generation now, perhaps longer, have grown up without the guidance, mores, and norms that were imbued in us by our schools and parents in the '50s and '60s. Our school systems aren’t teaching personal responsibility, are afraid to punish kids now, fathers are absent in way too high a percentage of our population, and mothers are more concerned about their careers than their kids. The schools are too busy promoting the liberal agenda to be bothered with norms and mores.

My comment is absolutely car related in that it, I believe, is the major reason so many people die in car accidents. Today’s culture is “I only care about me, I come first, last, and foremost”. I see the manifestations daily on the roads. Irresponsibility ranges from road rage, fights for spaces in traffic, ignoring traffic while texting, the proliferation of one-finger communication between drivers, and many other ways.

I know my answer will be controversial. Let the hand grenades commence.


I think it’s two things, the record number of cars on the road and the invention of texting.


I agree completely with the_same_mountainbike. As a school bus driver from 20 years ago to 5 yeats ago, I sawe this happening first hand. The decline of the family, kids being raised in day care or on the streets and worsened by the misguided self esteem movement have wreaked havoc on our society.
We used to teach our children to esteem OTHERS , respect elders and authority.
The only message I heard young men that they got from their mostly absent fathers was "don’t let anybody tell you what to do.
The outcome of teaching children that their feelings and desires are more important than anyone else’s is incoherent rage.
We see it in driving, we see it in music and we see it in school shootings.
If access to guns was the cause of school shootings, Switzerland would be awash in them. Switzerland requires every able bodied young man to enter national service and every young woman that wants to. These young people keep their assault rifles at home.
Liberals in Switzerland are trying to make them keep them in arsenals, not because there have been problems but just because they are opposed to guns.

In case anyone thinks I am a full fledged gun nut, I have never owned a gun, I was on a high school rifle team but used a gun owned by the club. when I hunted as a young man I borrowed a gun. I gave up hunting when I found out my wife would not cook game and I wasn’t about to take up cooking.


I gotta agree that it’s a cultural thing but this is something that we dare not say. I told the story before but it just shows how far we have fallen. I think we were 14, three of us, and saw an ad in Montgomery Wards for old British army rifles, Enfield 303’s for $15. We ordered three of them, went down on our bikes and picked them up, and on our way home stopped at the hardware store for a box of shells. No one even blinked. After going through the box of shells at the gravel pit, we decided to sell them because the ammo was too expensive. Heaven can only imagine what would happen to us and our folks today doing the same thing.

To keep it car related, we had to use our bikes because we couldn’t drive yet, and most of us had only one car that was at work.

Another vote for mountainbike.

My dad bought me a Remington .22 when I was 11 years old. I routinely walked right near downtown with a pocket full of shells and carrying a long gun while on my way to the river to do some shooting. Not a second look from anyone including the cops as I waited to cross the highway at the traffic light. Let an 11 year old try that nowadays…

To keep it car related, my dad was a fireman on 24 and off 24. This often meant I had no car ride to the river when I wanted to go shooting by myself and the terrain was too rough for my bicycle; ergo, on foot it was.

The texting and “hurry up just to slow down” mentality has gotten out of hand IMO.

Being on the rifle team let us buy as much black powder as we wanted and the feds gave us massive amounts of ammunition for qualifying scores using Army firing positions with Army type post sights.

We ranged in age from 14 to 18 and none of us ever shot anyone or blew up anyone. When I grew up every boy carried a pocket knife all the time and the teacher used to watch us play mumbledy-peg during recess. Although boys had fist fights a lot back then, I never saw anyone try to use a knife.
People used to think two boys squaring off was a good thing, we agreed on the rules beforehand and the fight ended when either boy wanted it to. Sort of like hockey players today and for pretty much the same reasons. You learned there were consequences to tour words and actions.

Deaths per mile driven have been going down for as long as the numbers have been tabulated. Sure there are some blips up along the way but the trend is down. Sure 40K deaths is a bad thing but cars are so safe drivers seem to think they are invincible behind the wheel.

Same for the simplicity of driving. Manufacturers are making it simpler with automatic braking, obstacle detection and lane keeping systems added to ABS and stability control. When I see drivers texting, drinking coffee and picking their nose at the same time (yes, glass is clear and I can see you, dummy!) driving may be a touch too easy!

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My vote for the cause is smartphones.

How did this turn into a discussion of guns? Oh yeah, Bing. BING! TRY TO STAY FOCUSED!!!


Many of us forecast that would happen! The biggest reason for the increase is distracted driving, with legal pot use added in some areas. In both Washington ad Colorado deaths are up significantly sine the legalization of pot.

The “touchy feely” types will once more blame the highway departments and car manufacturers, but this entire increase rests on the DRIVERS!!!

We made good progress down to just over 30,000 deaths in the last few years, with 16 times the miles driven than in the mid fifties when the figure was that low.


So the smart phones make people drive bad? We were relaying the change in culture that some of us believe has more to do with it than guns, or smart phones, or even pot. A change in culture explains a lot.

It was a figure of speech. I blame those who use their smart phones while they drive. I don’t hold an inanimate device responsible for the behavior of people.

I see you enjoy rehashing old arguments, so I’ll indulge you once more.

The change in culture you see is largely a change of perspective, although there have been changes to the culture. In other words, you don’t see the world the same way you did when you were a child. A change in culture would explain a lot, and that conveniently leads to confirmation bias and circular reasoning. If you had more to offer in the way of proof than mere anecdote, I might be convinced, but I’ve been hearing about the moral degradation of the younger generations all my life, and the comments always come from old people who look down their noses at young people.


A two year trend? My money’s on smartphone induced driver distraction.

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DISCLAIMER: This is also probably a figure of speech.

Here is an interesting podcast I heard about the idea that, with social networking, and this includes this forum, we are not the customers, we’re the product. The customers are the advertisers who pay for access to our attention:

So it’s a culture of being careless and having little respect for what goes on around you! My wife argues that the boomers, who were spoiled by historical standards, did the same to their off springs. Some even blame Dr., Benjamin Spock, whose 1950s book Baby and Child Care encouraged mothers to let their babies do what they wanted.

I’m not blaming the phones, alcohol or pot in itself.

We live in a culture of ENTITLEMENT where even the laws of nature are disregarded.

We live in a ski and mountain recreation area. We have about 10 mountain deaths each year; nearly all due to skiers going out of bounds, disregarding weather warnings and avalanche areas, or snowmobilers driving recklessly where hey should not even be.

Two months ago, at a commuter train stop, a young man texting walked straight into an oncoming train and was killed instantly. The crossing/stop has both walk around gates and warning lights; the lad just walked around them. The bleeding hearts blamed the transit company for not having human guards preventing such a thing!

You could also have full time guards on the Golden gate Bridge to prevent suicide jumpers!

I see this kind of reckless behaviour every single day

During my road tests at work, the route goes both past and across railroad tracks, and through a busy section of town

At the railroad tracks, every single day I see guys doing EXACTLY what you said. So far I haven’t witnessed any catastrophes. And I also see IDIOT drivers start to cross the tracks . . . when the other side isn’t even yet clear. And they wait on the tracks, waiting for cars to move, while honking their horn. As if the car in front, who is in the clear, is somehow to blame. There are posted signs stating you should NOT cross the tracks if the other side isn’t clear. You really can’t fix stupid . . .

And at extremely busy intersections, I constantly see people with their heads down . . . 100% oblivious of anything that’s going on around them . . . simply cross streets, against red lights, with cars whizzing by at 40mph or more. I can just see it . . . somebody won’t be able to stop in time, hit the idiot who was in the wrong, and everybody will wind up blaming the driver. And the idiot jaywalker/texter, if he survives, will claim he was doing nothing wrong. In fact, he’ll probably claim his smartphone was in his pocket the whole time.

And some folks want high speed rail service!

A new high speed (70 mph, whoopee!) rail service was just in the testing phase along the east coast of Florida over the last few months. 3 people dead in train strikes so far. I don’t think texting was blamed but it was certainly inattention.

If high speed rail will get distracted drivers off the roads and on a train…

We might need to look at how countries that successfully adopted high speed rail changed their railroad crossings. Evidently, these are resolvable issues if you’re willing to look beyond our borders for solutions.

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