Sailer: Our Car Crash Decade
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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

The 2020s: The Car Crash Decade
Steve Sailer

January 25, 2023

Traffic fatalities, like murders, should be in steady decline due to improving technology and big data analyses of danger spots leading to better policing and infrastructure. That’s happening in much of the world, but not in the U.S. in this decade.

For example, in a serious country, Japan, in 2022 total motor vehicle accident deaths declined for the sixth straight year to 2,610, and are now down 19 percent from 2019 and 84 percent from their peak in 1970.

Notice that the Japanese government announced their year-end figure on Jan. 4, 2023, while it will be several months before the U.S. government releases a comparable number. In contrast, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released on Jan. 9, 2023 its early estimate of road deaths for the first nine months of 2022.

I don’t have full 2022 figures yet for countries other than Japan, but most major first-world countries saw very different changes in total road deaths from 2019 to 2021 than did America:

U.S.: +19 percent
Canada: +1 percent
Australia: –3 percent
Italy: –9 percent
France: –9 percent
U.K.: –11 percent
Germany: –16 percent
Japan: –18 percent

Read the whole thing there.

Here are a couple of additional graphs. I haven’t found miles driven for Japan in recent years (although I’m sure it’s out there somewhere), so I will use per capita traffic fatality death rates. Japan is a much smaller country in expanse than the U.S., so they drive fewer miles, so it’s hardly surprising that their per capita death rate from motor vehicle accidents is lower than America’s (although judging from the single 1970 data point, the Japanese probably drove like maniacs back then in their little cars):

Now, this graph is a little hard to interpret, since both lines are pretty similar in slope. On the other hand, the Japanese line is getting pretty close to zero recently. So, here’s a graph showing the ratio of the U.S. line divided by the Japanese line. It’s pretty revealing:

So, way back in 1970, the American car crash death rate per capita (not per mile driven) was 1.6 times worse than the Japanese rate, which, considering lower Japanese auto ownership and miles-driven rates, suggests the Japanese drove like Mad Max in their tiny, tinny cars back then.

In the last three decades, the U.S. to Japan ratio went from about 2 to 1 in the 1990s to about 3 to 1 in 2000s. In 2011, the ratio was U.S. 2.9x Japan. Then, for some reason, we don’t have data from Japan for 2012-2015, and when we come back in 2016 after the Ferguson Effect in the U.S., the ratio is now 3.8x.

By 2021, Americans are dying in car crashes per capita an unprecedented 6.2 times as often as the Japanese are dying or more than twice the ratio of a decade earlier.

That’s bad.

We don’t have full year data for the U.S. yet for 2022, but Japanese road deaths were down 1% for 2022, and for the first nine months of 2022 the Americans were down about the same, so the 2022 ratio is likely similar to the horrific 2021 ratio.

Personally, I’m against traffic fatalities. I don’t like them.

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