Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Maryland Roads Six Times As Deadly As Virginia?

The Washington Post had an interesting article today about a study linking increased fuel costs to a steep drop in traffic fatalities.

The study noted that while increased gasoline costs had caused Americans to drive less--up to five percent less in recent months compared to a year ago--fatal traffic accidents were way down, by as much as 22 percent in March compared to last year.

But here's what got us. According to the Post, in July Virginia reported 78 traffic fatalities (down from 102 last year), while Maryland had 347 deadly accidents (up from 331 last year).

That's quite an astounding difference, especially given that Virginia has 2 million more residents than Maryland. Indeed, Maryland had one fatal accident for each 16,000 residents, compared to Virginia's one fatal accident for each 97,000 residents, a difference of more than 6 to 1.

Are Maryland's roads really six times more deadly than Virginia's? If so, why? And why isn't this a priority?

[One possible reason: it's impossible to go more than 20 mph for much of the day in most of northern Virginia, so no one can go fast enough to kill anyone.]

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