Re: AGING: perhaps we are over the hump

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Feb 18 2002 - 09:43:25 MST

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> On Sun, 17 Feb 2002, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> > IIRC, only about half of auto deaths involve booze in any way.
> > So some 20K + fatalities a year would still theoretically be
> > present as long as unaugmented humans were driving in
> > conventional autos and transportation grids.
> Samantha, do you have any idea of the relative fraction that
> are "weather" induced (external hazard [perhaps]) vs. say sleep
> induced (self-hazard)?

Furthermore, there are no stats on how many auto accidents are drug
induced (either intentionally or unintentionally) since doing tox
screens isn't mandated in every accidental death, nor are suspects in
traffic accidents generally given blood tests. Various surveys indicate
that the combined alcohol/drug share of accidents is upwards of 75%.

The weather induced fraction falls typically into two areas:
hydroplaning, and snow/ice sliding, though there is a small number from
hail, floods, bridge collapses, etc. Thus the majority of weather
induced accidents are the direct responsibility of the vehicle owners
buying decisions with regard to a)tires, b) brake service, and c)
vehicle features (Antilock brakes, power steering, airbags, etc), or
else the driver's skills in adverse conditions.

In my experience, few driver safety programs in the country ever teach
students to drive in adverse conditions, and no DMV tests check for such
skills. Most people outside of the northern tier states never consider
driving in snow/ice conditions to be a frequent occurence, although
hydroplaning should be expected frequently.

The best indicator of accident tendency is age. Drivers under 21 and
over 65 are mostly likely to cause accidents, and the youngest and
oldest drivers have as much as ten times greater risk than mature

Distraction is another contributor, whether its tuning a stereo, talking
on the cell phone, dealing with kids, or the classic female morning
combo of make-up, dressing, hair drying while driving and chatting on
the cellphone and trying to tune the radio or change a CD. While guys
can approach this, the worst we've got to do is shave while driving
(been there, done it).

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