Letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal Today
"Safety gains in new cars cut traffic fatalities" (Journal December 20) ignores U.S. fatality rates per vehicle mile dropping like a stone from lowest in 1970 to fourteenth in the latest the Organization for EconoMic and Community Development6 (OECD) data.
The U.S. rate, about double that of U.K., Denmark and Sweden equates to 15,000 additional U.S. traffic deaths per year now. Your separate article on increasing walk mode fatalities trend over the last five years ignores AARP, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and others that roundabouts (not a single walker fatality in North America since 1990 introduction here) cut serious and fatal injuries by about 90%. AARP advocates converting signals to roundabouts because seniors drive fatality rates at intersections is twice that of the younger driver.
Professor John Pucher, Rutgers, studied U.S. walk and bike fatalities per mile of travel versus Germany and the Netherlands--the U.S. fatality rates were about three times versus those two nations and bicycle injury rates 20 times. For bicyclists the new treatment, cycle track, which separates cyclists from both walk and car modes, represents the rapidly emerging technology to both enable bicycling for all as well as providing safety--Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel leads the nation in this regard.
Ironically, the NY State Department of Transportation decade-old "roundabouts first policy" for intersections contrasts with New York City's completely crazy "0 roundabout policy."
All the nations with better highway fatality rates (except Canada) have heavy investment in roundabouts as well as safe walk/bike facilities.