Evidence and data show that speed is the biggest cause of car-related injuries and deaths- and speed is our focus here, particularly on the local level. Americans love their freedom, and nowhere is that more evident than in our car-centric culture. Whatever the reason, the highway is not where where most crashes occur:
“The overwhelming factor is speed,” says Leonard Evans, an automotive researcher. Small differences in speed cause large differences in harm. Other countries tend to have lower speed limits (despite the famous German autobahn) and more speed cameras. Install enough cameras, and speeding really will decline.
But it’s not just speed. Seatbelt use is also more common elsewhere: One in seven American drivers still don’t use one, according to the researchers Juha Luoma and Michael Sivak. In other countries, 16-year-olds often aren’t allowed to drive. And “buzzed driving” tends to be considered drunken driving. Here, only heavily Mormon Utah has moved toward a sensible threshold, and the liquor and restaurant lobbies are trying to stop it.