Behind Traffic Fatality Reduction in 2008 in Virginia Report as inadecuate

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In 2008, the U.S. witnessed 9% reduction in traffic fatalities across the nation. In Virginia, 205 less persons were killed in traffic crashes in 2008 than in 2007, which is an unprecedented one-year decline since 1950, following by 170 reduction in 1974 allegedly attributable to oil crisis. Part of the reduction can probably be ascribed to continuous efforts for safety improvements in education, law, policy, technology, and vehicle and road design. However, some portion of the reduction may be attributable to changes in economic conditions in late 2007 and 2008. In this regard, this study attempted to find contributing factors to the 2008 reduction in traffic fatalities using Virginia data, and economic indicators (e.g., unemployment rate), crash exposures (e.g., vehicle miles traveled), and other factors (e.g., beer consumption) were attempted to relate to changes in fatalities using a time-series model. Changes in total employment number and unemployment rate were determined to be the best contributing factors for changes in annual traffic fatalities. However, only the unemployment rate was able to explain a portion of the reduction in 2008, 27%.

Subject(s): Public Economics

Research Methods/ Statistical Methods

Risk and Uncertainty

Issue Date: 2010-03

Publication Type: Conference Paper/ Presentation

PURL Identifier:

Total Pages: 9

Record appears in: Transportation Research Forum > 51st Annual Transportation Research Forum, Arlington, Virginia, March 11-13, 2010

Author: Kweon, Young-Jun ; Lynn, Cheryl W.


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