Recession Gets the Credit for Lower Road Fatalities, Says Study

Nothing chills on-road hijinks like an empty gas tank


A white paper released last week examines the recent uptick in highway death statistics and attempts to answer the question of what is to blame for the negative trend. Michael Sivak, a research professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, examined the various explanations commonly offered and concluded economic factors appear to be the most important.

His analysis begins with an attempt to understand the massive drop in road fatalities between 2005 and 2011. In just seven years, the raw number of road deaths plunged 26 percent to the lowest level since 1949. When the crash numbers looked positive, everyone wanted to attribute the good news to their own special projects.