If We Didn’t Have So Many Murders, We Would Realize How Dangerous Our Roads Are

The third week of August was not a good week for pedestrians in D.C.: two pedestrians were killed by people driving cars. By comparison, only one person was murdered. We’ll return to D.C. in a moment.

Nationally, here’s the annual death toll from vehicle traffic:


We now kill far more people with our transportation system than we do by homicide: in 2013, the CDC claims that 16,121 were killed by homicide. So for every murder, there are two vehicle-related deaths.

To return to D.C., this city, to date, has far more murders (88) than traffic fatalities (17). Because our discourse around crime focuses on inner cities, in large part due to reasons that have nothing to do with actual attempts to reduce the number of homicides, we fail to recognize just how lethal getting from one point to another can be in the U.S.–and by comparison, the U.S. is far more lethal than most European countries.

But somehow I don’t think the safety of our highway and road systems will be a campaign issue, even though, based on body count, it should be. Instead, we just shrug our shoulders. Then again, since we don’t actually do anything to stem gun violence either, we’re effectively doing that regarding guns too.

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