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October 27, 1989

Weekends, Rural Roads, Alcohol Among Risk Factors Gleaned From Traffic Death Data

JAMA. 1989;262(16):2196. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430160014003

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WEEKENDS CONTINUE to be the most dangerous time for motor-vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and pedal cyclists.

A Department of Transportation agency in Washington, DC, says nearly half of the nation's traffic-related fatalities continue to be recorded during weekends, especially Saturdays. That agency—the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—also says that rural roads are particularly likely to be scenes of fatal crashes. During the past year, 57% of all fatal crashes were reported from rural settings.

In all, there were 42119 fatal crashes in 1988. They resulted in 47 093 deaths, the agency's National Center for Statistics and Analysis says.

More Deaths, Same Rate  This is an increase from 1987 in both deaths (1.5%) and fatal crashes (1.6%), these statisticians say. Yet the fatality rate (number of deaths divided by an estimate of vehicle-miles traveled) is the same as in 1987, because it is thought that, overall, the more than 188 million motor