Warning: this is depressing, but I hope you'll read it anyway.
I've got an acronym that you should memorize. It's NHTSA FARS: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. I've added it as a permanent link in this blog. It's your one-stop source for data on the trips that went horribly horribly wrong in our country.
I've talked before about the tens of thousands of people who die every year in traffic collisions in the United States (33,808 people died from this nationwide in 2009, a "good" year mostly because of less driving caused by the weak economy). I did so again on a comment board when NPR ran a story on how the U.S. lags behind Europe on traffic safety. I'm writing this because I thought of a new way to dramatize the number of people who are killed by our transportation system.
As you know, in 1945 the United States devastated the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with our newly-invented weapon: the atomic bomb. The precise number of dead is not known, but it is estimated that it could have exceeded 225,000 people if you count the immediate impact plus the later deaths from radiation exposure.
We've lost more than that many people since 2004 to crashes.
America, it's time to take this seriously. Because when WMD-like death tolls are hitting us every several years you know it's no "accident".