Cops Claim They, Not Gas Prices, are Responsible for Drop in Driving Deaths


Image: Tweek

When I previously wrote during the summer that High Gas Prices = Fewer Auto Deaths, a typical comment was "the author is a wack job and knows nothing." Fortunately the thesis was confirmed by The University of Michigan in High Gas Prices Mean Fewer Traffic Fatalities

Now new studies are confirming the drop in fatalities; Ontario, Canada has seen deaths drop 30% since 2007. But wait, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) says it is their "strategic enforcement" this summer, not the price of gas, that made the difference.


Chief Fantino and Premier McGuinty harassing drivers in cheap photo op participating in RIDE program. image: CBC
According to the Globe and Mail:
Police forces, meanwhile, are heaping the credit on themselves, saying new enforcement techniques and tougher laws keep roads safe.

"We attribute it to our strategic enforcement," said B.C. RCMP Traffic Division Constable Dave Babineau, whose unit has cracked down on street racing, seatbelt non-compliance and drunk driving and has seen 18-per-cent fewer deaths.

"It's an unbelievable drop. We're very pleased with it."

Professor David Grabowski of the Harvard Medical School, co-author of the study quoted earlier on TreeHugger, finds this laughable.

"We've seen some of that up here as well. Everyone wants to take credit," he said. "[But] we know one thing changed dramatically, and others didn't. Enforcement sounds good if you're in law enforcement, but it seems a little too convenient."

The Canadian Automobile Association has seen a drop in sales of its trip-planning products and services, indicating people are taking fewer of them, said spokeswoman Edyta Zdancewicz. She agrees with Prof. Grabowski's assessment, saying gas prices and the general decline in the economy keep cars off the roads and lower the collision body count. The two factors are the only major changes this year, she said.

"I would attribute this to fewer vehicles on the roads thanks to gas prices and the economy," Ms. Zdancewicz said. "You look at [fatality numbers], and what's been the one thing that has changed this year more than anything else? Gas prices and the economy."

More on Traffic Safety in TreeHugger:
Our Radical Gas-Saving Tip: Drive 55 (or whatever the speed limit ...
55 MPH: It's time to bring it back.
Our Radical Gas-Saving Tip: Drive 55 (or whatever the speed limit ...