Damn Liars


Reader Mike Geary points us to the latest horror story of life in these United States:

Highway Deaths Hit 13-Year High in 2003

The number of U.S. traffic deaths rose nearly 1 percent in 2003 and reached a 13-year high at 43,220, the government reported on Wednesday.

It was the fifth straight year road deaths rose, although passenger car fatalities decreased. Sport utility vehicle deaths went up roughly 10 percent over 2002, with more than half of the victims in those crashes killed in rollovers. Motorcycle deaths also jumped.

After such a dramatic opening, it's comforting to read the punch line:

Despite the increase in the annual death count, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled remained constant at 1.5 deaths because more people were on the road.

Somehow a headline like "Automobile Fatality Rate Stays Constant" is just not going to grab eyeballs like one that reads "Highway Deaths Hit 13-Year High in 2003."