The AP reports that highway fatalities are down to 1960s levels. After gas hit a peak last summer and the recession started in force, people drove less. Fewer people on the road means fewer accidents, and less risky driving. The same phenomenon occurred during the 1973-1974 oil crisis, and 1981-1982 recession. The opposite happened after the 9/11 attacks, when people substituted driving for air travel.
Other factors cited for last year’s 9 percent drop in highway deaths: greater seatbelt use, which climbed to a record 83 percent, and tougher enforcement of drunk driving laws.