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Dramatic Failure of U.S. Traffic Safety Policy Kills Tens of Thousands Annually

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Published on Dec 1, 2012

Revised 1 December 2012 - China data deleted from study due to uncertainties about reliability.
This Presentation is based on one I delivered to The Eye and The Auto International Conference, 2011-09-(12--14), in Detroit MI, organized by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology.  In Traffic Safety (2004), the chapter titled The Dramatic Failure of US Safety Policy concludes that US Safety policy, by rejecting science, ends up placing most emphasis on where benefits are least (JAMA reviewer calls this Chapter the Showstopper). The conclusion that disastrous US policy was killing more than ten thousand additional Americans every year was based on comparing US performance with that in three Comparison countries (Britain, Canada and Australia). This present presentation compares the US to 27* countries, and for each of them 7 years more data than available in the earlier study. The presentation shows the data for each country in a separate graph. The enormously greater amount of data adds vastly more support to the earlier conclusions. Namely, (1) US safety performance is dramatically worse than that in other industrialized countries. (2) The fatality declines among other countries are similar and define what is normal. Their policies emerge from imperfect legislative bodies whose members are much concerned about being reelected. The far from optimal policies that emerge are ordinarily foolish. (3) US policies are not ordinarily foolish. They are extraordinarily foolish. (4) This is because US safety policy continues to maximize litigation earnings and the resulting political contributions (for example, Toyota "phantom acceleration") while ignoring science, knowledge, or even common understanding. This results in placing priorities almost perfectly opposite to where safety benefits are greatest.Countries analyzed in order of decreasing human population:

*1 United States of America 2 Japan 3 Germany 4 France 5 Italy 6 Great Britain 7 South Korea 8 Spain 9 Poland 10 Canada 11 Australia 12 Netherlands 13 Greece 14 Belgium 15 Portugal 16 Czech Republic 17 Hungary 18 Sweden 19 Austria 20 Switzerland 21 Israel 22 Denmark 23 Slovakia 24 Finland 25 Norway 26 Ireland 27 New Zealand

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