This is an incredibly sobering article about why driving in America is on a downward trajectory in terms of safety:
The cars we drive are safer than ever, but our driving habits are making American roads much less safe. There have been 3 significant spikes in driving fatalities since we started driving in the US. The first was in the earliest decades of the 20th century, when Americans were first learning how to drive. The second was midcentury (post World War II), with the advent of the freeway system and the introduction of powerful new cars like the Mustang which people could drive fast. The third spike has been over the last 4 years or so, starting with the stress of the Covid pandemic and continuing onward.
The reasons are myriad and complicated, but what is scary and frustrating is that the main cause is driver behavior. Yes, Americans are choosing bigger and heavier cars/trucks to drive, and larger vehicles absolutely and without question create worse outcomes for other vehicles and drivers and property and cyclists and pedestrians when they are involved in crashes. But the root cause of this latest spike in fatalities falls on the driver: we drive faster and more aggressively than ever, and we let the bad behavior of other drivers influence how we drive.
The 2 previous spikes in driver fatalities were more understandable. During the first spike we were figuring out how to actually drive cars. During the second we were figuring out how to drive at speed, as roads became safer and more easily traversed, and cars became much more powerful and agile. A big part of that solution fell on automobile manufacturers to make cars much safer, with myriad active and passive safety systems. But this 3rd wave is all on us – yes cars will continue to get safer, but ultimately we really have to stop driving like dolts.