Improving economy leading to more road deaths?

One explanation is that not only are people driving more as the economy improves, but they’re also driving differently, said Michael Sivak, a professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

During the economic downturn, people tended to drive slower to conserve gas; there was less driving on rural roads, which are more risky than urban roads, and there were fewer freight shipments and thus fewer heavy trucks on the road, he said.

“Improvements in road safety that are based on economic factors are transient,” Sivak said. “We should not be surprised that a part of the recent gain in road safety is beginning to disappear.”

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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