A recent study has shown that while auto safety is at an all-time high, and traffic fatalities are on the decline, only those who are financially well off benefit from these developments.
The Washington Post reported (based on research from the National Center for Health Statistics) that rich people are far more likely to benefit from modern safety technology and therefore be much safer when driving. Modern cars now come with a variety of safety features including collision warnings and brakes that are automatically applied if a potential accident is detected. Better, higher quality headlights and even cars with night vision help improve visibility, and many cars offer pedestrian detection as well as lane-assist driving. Many of these safety advances have come along in the last few years and are only available in newer, often higher cost, autos. Meanwhile, the age of the average car has reached a record of 11.5 years. This means that the average 2003 auto is still on the road. Those who have less money are far more likely to drive these older, less safe cars.
Adding to the problem is that poor communities will also have roads that are in greater disrepair than those in wealthy communities. One other consideration is that people with less education and lower income are more likely to drive recklessly than their educated, affluent counterparts.
The numbers from the study back these theories up. In 2010 the number of college graduates who died in car accidents was about 1 death per 100 million miles traveled. Meanwhile persons with less than a high school education die in traffic accidents at a rate of 7.5 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.
Read the entire report and story here.