, Gloucester, MA

January 18, 2013

Letter: Writer was off base regarding auto deaths

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Malcom Miller, in his letter to the editor (”Where’s the outrage, debate over auto deaths?” the Times, Thursday, Jan. 17), states that “thousands and thousands of automobile deaths occur every year, and it seems, are hardly looked into at all.”

On the contrary, the reduction of injuries and fatalities as the result of automobile accidents is a perfect example of an ongoing, extremely successful public health campaign which might well set the standard for gun safety.

Automobiles and guns combined were responsible for approximately 64,000 deaths in 2011. These deaths were almost evenly split between motor vehicle deaths and deaths caused by guns.

Motor vehicle deaths peaked at 54,589 — or 3.35 fatalities in 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) — in 1972. In 2008, the fatalities per 100 million VMT were 1.25.

This steep decline can be attributed to a number of factors, but clearly improved vehicle safety, driver training, and roads all contributed, and these were the result of exhaustive “looking into” and resulting regulation in the name of public safety.