Murders, Traffic Deaths Connected

December 3, 2009 By Devin Powell, ISNS

If you want to know how many people are killed in car accidents in a particular U.S. state, look to its prisons. Regions with higher murder rates also tend to have a greater number of traffic fatalities, according to a new analysis of government data.

A study published in the scientific journal Prevention found that a state's in 2006 predicted its traffic fatalities better than nine other well-known factors -- including how likely residents were to wear their seatbelts or to drive drunk.

This is not because more killers are taking the wheel or more drivers are using their vehicles as weapons, said Michael Sivak, a psychologist at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor, MI. His explanation for the connection is that some populations are more violent and aggressive than others, and that this aggression leads both to dangerous driving and to a higher murder rate.

"The finding is consistent with the notion that social aspects of human interactions play an important role in traffic safety," wrote Sivak.

The data builds on a previous study of census data from 1977 and 1978 that also found a connection between homicides and traffic fatalities.

© 2009 Inside Science News Service

ISNS

Explore further: Study looks at traffic death risks

Related Stories

Study looks at traffic death risks

January 19, 2007

Eighteen-year-old males are as risky behind the wheel as 80-year-old females, says a new traffic study from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University.

Major drop in traffic deaths: It's more than high gas prices

July 28, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Rising fuel prices, resulting in less driving, may very well be a reason for the decline in traffic deaths, as recent reports have suggested. But a new report by the University of Michigan shows that something ...

Declining road fatalities: Less driving not the only cause

June 4, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Fewer Americans are dying on our nation's roads, not only because they are driving less, but also because the type of driving has changed, says a researcher at the University of Michigan Transportation Research ...

Recommended for you

French teen finds 560,000 year-old tooth (Update)

July 28, 2015

A 16-year-old French volunteer archaeologist has found an adult tooth dating back around 560,000 years in southwestern France, in what researchers hailed as a "major discovery" Tuesday.

The couple who Facebooks together, stays together

July 27, 2015

Becoming "Facebook official" is a milestone in modern romance, and new research suggests that activities on the popular social networking site are connected to whether those relationships last.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.