Taxes not a total waste: California traffic deaths at 66-year low

Russ Steele

Central Valley Business News has the story:

• State says safety improvements should get some credit

• Safety programs also credited

In 2010, 2,715 people were killed in traffic accidents in California – the lowest total since 1944, the California Department of Transportation says Wednesday.

Citing statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Caltrans says that traffic fatalities in the state peakead at 5,504 in 1987.

Success can be attributed in part to safety improvements made on highways statewide along with safety programs such as “Slow for the Cone Zone” and “Safe Routes to Schools,” Caltrans says.

I suspect that seat belts, hand free cellphone rules, no texting rules and drunk driving enforcement also played a role in improving our safety.

The challenge will be to keep improving on this record with our highways falling apart. We just comepleted a trip ro Arizona and some of the worst road conditions were in California.


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

5 Responses to Taxes not a total waste: California traffic deaths at 66-year low

  1. Dena says:

    And they don’t think high unemployment and high fuel prices have an effect? The family truck parking allows us to get a feel for how many truckers are on the road by looking at how many trucks are parked in the yard. The car haulers (hauling high end cars) are doing well but other truckers are looking hard for loads. I suspect many people have changed their vacation plans to something less costly than a road trip if they can even afford a vacation. Less traffic means fewer collisions.

  2. sean2829 says:

    I looked up the data and its not a smooth line. The number of deaths was declining pretty smoothly until the mid-late ninety’s than it rose for nearly ten years and it started delining again around 2005-6. Oddly enough, gas war really cheap in th late 90’s so its not gas prices. What does seem to correlate is housing starts with a bit of a lag. These hit a minimum in 1995, accelerated until about 2004 than plummeted after that. So the fatality stats may be reflect boom bust cycles in housing that California is famous for.

  3. sean2829 says:

    By the way, if you want to look at housing start statistics in 10 year chunks, follow this link, Besides the min and max tracking the housing starts with a 2 year lag, the peak housing start year for California was 1986, the year before the 1987 peak year of fatalities.

  4. Russ says:


    Great graphics, with a very telling story about about the California economy.

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