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Sept 11, 1967

Traffic Deaths Go Up AgainRole of the Alcoholic Driver; Our Present Control Methods

Author Affiliations

From the Automotive Safety Committee, Colorado Medical Society, Denver.

JAMA. 1967;201(11):861-864. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130110087022

The fact that the number of motor-vehicle deaths in this country has climbed steadily from 36,981 in 1958 to 52,500 in 1966 must mean that we have not discovered the principal cause, or applied the definitive remedy. Our experiences with malaria, pneumonia, and cancer would tell us that this is so.

At the outset, the point must be made clear that the fatal and very-serious-injury "accident" is quite a different entity from the ordinary fenderbender, or even the accident in which people are cut by flying glass and get a broken bone or two. Not always, but in most cases, there is marked crushing or deformation of the cars involved. This is due, of course, to the fact that there are mostly high-speed crashes, and this is where the slogan "SPEED KILLS" came from.

But we must push back farther to a more basic question, "Why were these high-speed cars