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Auto insurance quotes and vehicle crash deaths

As a result of steady government pressure, the physical safety of the vehicles on our roads has been rising steadily. When crash and rollover test results name and shame manufacturers, they act to protect their brand image. They have invested in new designs to reinforce the shell to protect the driver and passengers. Now add in the crumple zones where parts of the body collapse and absorb the impact. Finally, you make the car more easily controlled with better suspension and braking systems. All these innovations have seen the number of deaths and serious injuries falling steadily over the last ten years. But there's little to be pleased about when more than 32,000 people die in crashes every year. The number of people merely injured is frightening. In some age groups, more people die on the roads than through disease. When driving becomes a leading cause of death, something should be done.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently issued a policy document suggesting how changes in the law might improve safety. Proposals to change the law, particularly to use the criminal law, to force people to act in particular ways is always controversial. There's a strong libertarian culture that objects when freedom of action is limited. Their knee-jerk response is to argue many of these laws make victimless crimes or where the only people injured are the ones labeled criminals. So let's take the first proposal to force every state to make safety belt laws primary and to make enforcement high-profile. The libertarians might say they should get to chose whether to wear safety belts. It's their bodies at risk so their decision. The statistics say that states with effective enforcement consistently have lower fatalities. It's the same with making motorcycle helmets mandatory. The statistics show hundreds of lives a year would be saved if laws were put in place and enforced.

Now let's talk about increasing the age at which teens can be licensed to drive. States where the age of licensing is 17 show up to a 30% drop in the number of accidents and a real drop in the number of deaths. Now how about reducing the speed limits? Again the evidence is absolutely clear. Speed kills. It also increases the amount of pollution and burns more oil at a time we should be aiming to use less. Curiously, some states have recently been removing red light cameras as infringing the privacy of drivers, yet they also significantly reduce the accident rates. In 2009, almost 700 people were killed running red lights. Research also shows accidents fall where you replace stop lights with roundabouts. Finally, we need active policing to take the drunk and incapacitated drivers off the roads.

If all the states took this action, the total number of accidents would fall, fewer people would be injured and a lot less would die. If the volume of claims falls, the next round of auto insurance quotes also falls. Fewer payouts in smaller amounts need less premium income. So get on the phone to your local lawmakers. Tell them auto insurance rates are the next big political issue and, if they don't pass some new laws, they will be voted out at the next election.

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