Less Traffic = Fewer Traffic Deaths

(cc photo by CodeHooligans 1)

(cc photo by CodeHooligans 1)

Ken Archer flags the CDC’s self-description of how to improve public health by reducing traffic fatalities:

CDC’s research and prevention efforts target this serious public health problem. We focus on improving car and booster seat and seat belt use and reducing impaired driving, and helping groups at risk: child passengers, teen drivers, and older adult drivers.

As Archer says, this seems to miss the fact that driving in a car itself is a major risk factor. If you drive to work every day and live 12 miles from your office, your odds of dying in a car wreck are dramatically lower than those of someone who lives 25 miles from his office. If you ride a train or a bus to work or if you walk, it’s even lower. It’s not necessarily the CDC’s job to take these issues on, but it’s important for people to recognize that not only are traffic crashes the leading cause of death for Americans under 35 but their incidence is directly related to land-use policies.