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Books, Journals, New Media
August 10, 2005


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;294(6):746-747. doi:10.1001/jama.294.6.746

Americans are unsafe drivers, and paradoxically, the work of Ralph Nader is largely to blame. So argues world-renowned traffic safety expert Leonard Evans in his comprehensive and compelling book Traffic Safety.

Evans’ work covers in remarkable detail the full range of important topics in traffic safety, from sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to drinking and driving to the latest safety technologies, but his chapter “The Dramatic Failure of U.S. Safety Policy” is the showstopper. There he presents statistics showing that the United States went from having the lowest traffic fatality rate among highly developed countries as recently as the 1970s to having a much higher rate than countries such as Great Britain, Canada, and Australia as of 2002. The irony, he points out, is that the media and general public have been too busy lavishing praise on those involved in US safety policy to notice the far greater improvements elsewhere.