Americans pay a great deal of money for their roads — from taxes on their gasoline to parts of their general income — but they don't get a whole lot of road safety in return. A report [PDF] from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, released last month, compared road fatality statistics in the United States with those in Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Guess which per capita fatality rate was about three times greater than the others.
With so much love for roads, what is the United States neglecting when it comes to road safety? To find an answer, researchers Juha Luoma and Michael Sivak dug a bit deeper into the numbers. They found several contributing factors, including relatively loose speeding, seat belt, and drunk driving enforcement, but the biggest reason was staring everyone in the face: Americans drive a lot more than others.