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November 22, 1995

Traffic Safety Experts Prescribe Treatment, Sanctions to Improve Driving

JAMA. 1995;274(20):1571-1573. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530200007002

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DO CARS kill people, or is it people who do the killing?

Both, say the physicians, epidemiologists, engineers, and others who attended the 39th Annual Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM), held in Chicago, Ill.

The guiding philosophy of the AAAM is that both vehicle construction and personal behavior can be modified to reduce morbidity and mortality on the nation's roadways. Behavioral modification has proved to be the more difficult task.

Advances are both helped and hindered by the interdependence of man and machine. "Intelligent" safety restraint systems can sense when to deploy, slacken, and hold fast, but fewer than three fourths of drivers and passengers buckle up. Trauma systems can triage, transport, and treat injured patients so effectively that preventable mortality is reduced by as much as 30%, but the same patients may be injured again and again as a result of alcoholism. Ultimately,

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