42,642 Americans died in traffic accidents in 2006. So says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Believe it or not, that's good news. 43,510 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2005. It also turns out that the 2006 fatalities are the lowest in five years. So that's something.
But - also according to the NHTSA - car accidents are still the leading cause of death in ages 4 to 34. That kind of sucks.
Not only does it suck, it's also expensive:
In the US DOT publication "The Economic Costs Of Motor Vehicle Crashes," NHTSA investigator Lawrence J. Blincoe reports that in 1994, motor vehicle crashes accounted for 40,676 fatalites, and 4,100,000 injuries (of which 533,000 or 13% were serious). The total lifetime cost to the US economy for automobile accidents that occured in 1994 was $150.5 billion.
So why do we love cars so much?