IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD : life seems to have just about zero value. Every year thousands of people get killed in road accidents due to non-certification of road worthiness, rash driving, and total disregard for laws, and pure road rage.

The World Students Society researched Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada, Israel, France and the United States.

Superpower America, is now an outlier on driving deaths, for sure.

THIS WEEK, millions of Americans will climb into their cars to visit family. Unfortunately, they will have to travel on the most dangerous road in the industrialized world.

It didn't used to be this way. A generation ago, driving in the United States was relatively safe. Fatality rates here in 1990 were roughly 10 percent lower than in Canada and Australia, two other affluent nations with a lot of open road.

Over the last few decades, however, other countries have embarked on evidence-based campaigns to reduce vehicle crashes. The United States has not.

The fatality rate has till fallen here, thanks partly to safer vehicles, but it's fallen far less than anywhere else.

As a result, this country has turned into a disturbing outlier. The vehicle fatality rate is about 40 percent higher than Canada's or Australia. The comparison with Slovenia is embarrassing. In 1990, its death rate was more than five times as high as ours. Today, the Slovenians have safer roads.

If you find statistics abstract, you can instead read the heart-rending  stories. Erin Kaplan, a 39-year-old mother in Ashburn, Va., was killed in a September crash that also seriously injured her three teenage children.

They and their father are now heroically trying to put their lives back together, as The Washington Post has detailed.

Had the United States kept pace with the rest of the world, about 10,000 fewer Americans each year - or almost 30 every day - would be killed. Instead more people die in crashes than from gun violence. Many of the victims like Erin Kaplan, were young and healthy.

I was unaware of this country's newfound outlier status until I recently started reporting on the rise of  driverless cars. I've become convinced they represent one of the biggest changes in day-to-day life that most of us will experience.

Within a decade, car travel will be fundamentally altered. ''this is every bit as big a change as when the first car came off the assembly line,'' Senator Gary Peters of Michigan told me.

May people remain afraid of ''driverless cars'' because trusting your life to a computer - allowing it to and the rest of the world refuses to accept it.

The Honor and Serving of this important Global Operational Research on Road Safety, Driving and Vehicles continues to Part 2. !WOW! thanks author and researcher David Leonhardt.


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