U.S. traffic deaths hit new lows

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So THAT'S the road...

This may come as a bit of a shock to those of us who see gratuitous texters on the road every quarter mile, but The Strib reports that traffic deaths are down by 7 percent.

And that was only in the first half of 2009.

According to the Strib:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported Friday that 16,626 people died in traffic crashes between January and the end of June, a 7 percent decline from the same period last year.

Safety experts said the decline in roadway deaths followed similar patterns formed during the early 1980s and early 1990s, when sluggish economic factors led many motorists to cut back on discretionary travel. Highway deaths have dropped steadily since 2005.

Maybe it was the promise of stepped-up enforcement that got us, underlined in the "Over the limit. Under arrest" commercial campaign - you know the one with the menacing trooper scanning the streets.

Perhaps it's the threat of seat-belt violations, which carry a hefty fine in Minnesota ($25 for the ticket, more than $100 total after surcharges).

Or maybe it's because people finally realized they really can't spoon-feed their infants, roll blunts, check Blackberry texts and change lanes at the same time anymore. Yep, America's bucking up and getting drastic.

We actually blame it on cable television propaganda. Just ask these poor children, whose mother has singlehandedly prescribed them a one-way ticket to insanity for the rest of their lives:



At least it's the good kind of insanity. Either way, we're thankful everyone's finally getting the message, although the winter is always a different story around here.

The only other thing standing in our way of watching this number plummet is the kind of people who are impervious to statistical interpretation:



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