Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Fifty years ago

It's Nebraska's 150th anniversary today. Nebraska became a state in 1867. I arrived here in 1967,  Nebraska's centennial year. I was reflecting on this today, and came upon an interesting statistic from 50 years ago. In 1967, there were 445 traffic fatalities in Nebraska. Last year, there were 194. This huge decline is even more dramatic when you consider the population increase over the past 50 years, and the increase in miles driven. Here's what the trend looks like since 1995:

There are probably many factors that contribute to this decline, such as better roadway engineering, air bags, anti-lock breaks, stability control, better emergency medical care. Nothing, however, is as important as seat belt usage. Roadway surveys show that about 83% of Nebraskans were buckling up in 2016. Unsurprisingly, 68% of those who died in Nebraska collisions last year were not wearing their seatbelt.

Last night, as I was preparing dinner, a PulsePoint alert fired off on my phone. It was an injury traffic crash at 29th & O Street. I pulled up the nearest traffic camera, which is at 27th Street. It looked bad. An SUV was on its side, and it appeared to be a high-speed right angle collision. The driver of that vehicle, however, walked away with only minor bumps and bruises--because she was buckled up.

There is probably nothing you can do today that is more important in protecting you from death or injury than simply using your seatbelt. Make sure your passengers do the same, and that your children develop the lifelong habit through your example.


Steve said...

I think you meant to say "Nebraska", not "Lincoln", when you said how many traffic fatalities there were in 1967.

Tom Casady said...

Thanks, Steve. That would be a bit extreme without the correction!

Anonymous said...

1959 Chevy Bel-Air vs 2009 Chevy Malibu, front offset crash test:

Anonymous said...

I spent many years driving big rigs and riding motorcycles. I almost always wore a seat belt when driving or a Helmet when on a motorcycle. I did this because it made sense to do so not because it was the LAW.

I have lost count of how many fatal accidents I came across during those years but two of the most horrific deaths I witnessed would PROBABLY not have been fatal if seat belts were not in use. One was a truck crash involving flammable chemicals and the other was a rollover in about four feet of water. The fire fatality MIGHT have been avoided if the driver had been thrown from his truck. In the drowning incident the victim drowned because rescuers could not get the seat belt released in time. I saw some horrible accidents in my years on the road but these two are the ones that I have nightmares about.

That is the reason I strongly oppose mandatory seat belt and helmet laws. Yes there are many lives saved by these laws BUT I want to make the decision not some elected official.
Gun Nut