Murders, Traffic Deaths Connected

Dec 03, 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: Best of Last Week – New type of qubit created, Hubble sees a glowing galaxy and extreme agreeing may solve disagreements

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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

Jul 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 som ...

Study looks at traffic death risks

Jan 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.

Declining road fatalities: Less driving not the only cause

Jun 04, 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 ...

Recommended for you

Radar search to find lost Aboriginal burial site

2 hours ago

Scientists said Tuesday they hope that radar technology will help them find a century-old Aboriginal burial ground on an Australian island, bringing some closure to the local indigenous population.

'Moral victories' might spare you from losing again

12 hours ago

It's human nature to hate losing. Unfortunately, it's also human nature to overreact to a loss, potentially abandoning a solid strategy and thus increasing your chances of losing the next time around.

User comments : 0