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Old 09-30-2014, 09:17 AM   #601
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I found a chart on motor vehicle deaths over the years on Wikipedia:

List of motor vehicle deaths in U.S. by year - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1921 was the first year they show data in terms of deaths per 100 million miles traveled, which is a better metric than simply how many people died in any given year. That year it was 24.09. Here's a few data points to summarize...

1921: 24.09
1930: 15.12
1940: 10.89
1950: 7.24
1960: 5.06
1970: 4.74
1980: 3.35
1990: 2.08
2000: 1.53
2010: 1.11
2012: 1.13

So it really makes me wonder...how much safer can cars get? One thing that also helps these numbers go down over the years is that, in addition to improved technology of new cars, more and more older, less safe cars get taken off the road, and out of the equation.

I'm really surprised that the numbers didn't drop more from 1960 to 1970. A lot of safety advances came along in that timeframe, such as standard seatbelts, collapsible steering columns, standard padded dashboards, etc. The auto makers were also learning how to make rudimentary crumple zones into the cars, although those were still in their infancy.

But, there was also a lot more size discrepancy between cars by 1970. Small cars didn't really get a foothold in the United States until the 1958 recession, but by 1970 they had been a mainstay for quite awhile. And in the meantime, the big cars only got bigger.
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:49 AM   #602
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Andre, one reason I can think that the death rate did not drop so much in the 1960s (and a reason it has kept dropping in more recent decades has been the aging population from the Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomers began driving in the 1960s so we had a large influx of younger drivers in the population. As those Boomers began aging in the 1980s and 1990s, they became safer drivers which contributed to lowering the accident and death rates.

In the 1970s we had a reduction in the national speed limit to 55 which helped reduce the death rate. In the 1980s we had mandatory seat belt laws and the third brake light.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:02 AM   #603
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Good point...I imagine the mandatory seatbelt laws were what really started dropping the death rates. Even though cars had seatbelts (I think lap belts front and rear were federally mandated in 1965 and shoulder belts up front were mandated on 1/1/1968), people rarely used them. And they don't do any good if you don't use them!

Tougher drunk driving laws, and a general public awareness and stigma of it have probably helped as well, and that didn't really gain power until the early 1980's.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:32 AM   #604
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I'm really surprised that the numbers didn't drop more from 1960 to 1970.
Those were the "sell the horsepower" years and some of the best factory-built street rods came on the scene then. I had a 1965 Corvette Stingray and it was a road terror. I'm surprised I am still here today after some of the cars I had in that decade!

There were GTO's, 442's, Vettes, Super Sports, big block everything, Mustangs, etc. What a wild time and so much fun! I suppose there were more traffic accidents due to the powerful cars that were on the scene in that decade.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:40 AM   #605
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I imagine improved trauma care impacted the auto death statistics glide path too.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:48 AM   #606
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Those were the "sell the horsepower" years and some of the best factory-built street rods came on the scene then. I had a 1965 Corvette Stingray and it was a road terror. I'm surprised I am still here today after some of the cars I had in that decade!
Yeah, my father went through that stage. His first car was a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, with a 390. Nice car, but he hated Fords (so don't ask me why he bought it ), so he sold it and bought a '63 Impala SS409 with the optional 425 hp setup. Had to sell that one when he got drafted. When he got out of the army he bought a '65 Impala SS396 with the 425 hp setup. Late one night, on a desolate country road in 1971, it threw a rod. He just abandoned it, left it for dead. That gave way to a '62 Corvette, but it was pretty junky. And then a '64 GTO coupe, but it had a B-pillar. And it was junky as well. I still remember the night he brought it home. I was about 3 or 4, riding home with Mom, following Dad. It was night time, and occasionally a shower of sparks would come from under the car, as it dragged its exhaust. I was actually afraid of that car as a little kid. I can remember Dad running out of gas in it one time, picking me up from nursery school, but luckily it was only a few hundred feet from a Shell station.

Dad had said several times that he should have just kept that '64 Galaxie, because it was the nicest of the bunch. But, he just couldn't get over his hatred of Fords.

Ironically, after he and my Mom divorced, he ended up in a Ford again. After Great Granddad died in 1977, my Dad got his '71 Torino. It was just a 4-door sedan with a 302, sort of a sage green color. He drives a 2003 Regal now, and says that if he could have gotten a car like that when he was a teenager, and held onto it, it would have kept him out of a lot of trouble with the law!
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:00 AM   #607
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Yeah, my father went through that stage. His first car was a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, with a 390. Nice car, but he hated Fords (so don't ask me why he bought it ), so he sold it and bought a '63 Impala SS409 with the optional 425 hp setup. Had to sell that one when he got drafted. When he got out of the army he bought a '65 Impala SS396 with the 425 hp setup. Late one night, on a desolate country road in 1971, it threw a rod. He just abandoned it, left it for dead. That gave way to a '62 Corvette, but it was pretty junky. And then a '64 GTO coupe, but it had a B-pillar. And it was junky as well. I still remember the night he brought it home. I was about 3 or 4, riding home with Mom, following Dad. It was night time, and occasionally a shower of sparks would come from under the car, as it dragged its exhaust. I was actually afraid of that car as a little kid. I can remember Dad running out of gas in it one time, picking me up from nursery school, but luckily it was only a few hundred feet from a Shell station.
Sounds like your father had several nice cars that are sought-after classics today. Sounds like he had a lot of bad luck to go along with it, too!

I'd love to have my '65 Vette back today (in mint condition).....but it would be viewed as an "awkward wealth" display!
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:23 AM   #608
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This might not be awkward wealth so much as putting on airs, but one of my friends, who's a few years older than me, used to tell me how back in the day sometimes they'd roll the windows up on hot days so other people would think they had air conditioning! His parents bought a used '67 Olds Delmont 88, and it didn't have a/c, but sometimes, like if they were going to a family reunion or other get together on a hot day, just before they got there, the father would say "Quick everyone, roll up your windows, so they think we have air conditioning!"

My friend also remembers, as a kid, looking for for water puddling up under the engine of an idling car on a hot day, a tell-tale sign that it had a/c.
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:46 AM   #609
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This might not be awkward wealth so much as putting on airs, but one of my friends, who's a few years older than me, used to tell me how back in the day sometimes they'd roll the windows up on hot days so other people would think they had air conditioning! His parents bought a used '67 Olds Delmont 88, and it didn't have a/c, but sometimes, like if they were going to a family reunion or other get together on a hot day, just before they got there, the father would say "Quick everyone, roll up your windows, so they think we have air conditioning!"

My friend also remembers, as a kid, looking for for water puddling up under the engine of an idling car on a hot day, a tell-tale sign that it had a/c.
Reminds me of a time many years ago, when analog cell phones were still a novelty even in cars, only the rich had them. We flew back east to visit relatives I hadn't seen since I was a kid. We rented an inexpensive small to midsize car, but when we got there they didn't have any. So for the same price they gave us the big black town car with a telephone! Boy, were my relatives impressed when I called them from the car as we were arriving. They all came out to look at the car, didn't say anything, but I could tell they thought I must be somebody really important. Hey, no problem letting them think that right?
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:53 AM   #610
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Oh remember one other time years ago. My in-laws at the time had some kind of timeshare or something in Hawaii. We got a place in a hotel owned by the same company, but as with the car situation, they had no more places available for a double family size group. So they gave us the PENTHOUSE on the TOP floor (for the same price as the regular room again).

I have to say I really really enjoyed reaching across the people standing in the elevator to push the "P" button! I guess I am awful right?
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:55 AM   #611
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Good point...I imagine the mandatory seatbelt laws were what really started dropping the death rates. Even though cars had seatbelts (I think lap belts front and rear were federally mandated in 1965 and shoulder belts up front were mandated on 1/1/1968), people rarely used them. And they don't do any good if you don't use them!

Tougher drunk driving laws, and a general public awareness and stigma of it have probably helped as well, and that didn't really gain power until the early 1980's.
Automatic seat belts began popping up in cars in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. They were the state-of-the-art passenger protection until airbags were developed later on.

Those automatic seatbelts probably saved my dad's life in 1978. He was driving a VW Rabbit which had them by then. He had just bought the car a few months earlier. He was in a head-on crash at 40 MPH and got banged up a bit but recovered fully. Those automatic seatbelts, unlike anything I had seen before (I was 15 at the time), also had a new feature (standard today) in which they tighten up when there is a sharp reduction in the car's speed. They tightened up so much that he had a huge diagonal welt across his chest, and that was through a shirt and heavy wool sport jacket and its collar. Better that than a huge impact between his head and the windshield (he still had a cut above his eye) or his torso and the steering column. And he wasn't one who always wore a seatbelt before he bought the Rabbit.

I surely agree with tougher drunk driving laws along with an increase in the drinking age from 18 to 21 brought down death rates in the 1980s.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:24 PM   #612
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Oh, yeah, those belts that had the tensioner spools in them. When I saw "automatic seatbelts" at first I was thinking about those dreadful motorized things in the late 1980's and early 1990's, as well as other "passive-aggressive" restraints that they came out with, until the feds finally forced the auto makers to put airbags in the cars. I thought it was amusing that Chrysler would put an airbag in something as cheap as a Plymouth Horizon, while GM and Ford weren't even putting them in their Cadillacs or Lincolns yet. And GM was actually a pioneer of airbags! They offered dual airbags in the full-sized cars from around 1974-76...they were a $300-400 option (cheaper than some stereo options at the time), but they just weren't popular options.

As for those belts with the tensioners in them, I'm not sure when they first came out. My '76 LeMans has them, so I'd guess a few years before? Maybe 1974? That was the year the infamous seatbelt interlock, where the car would not start unless you were belted in.

Some of the tensioners in today's cars are actually too sensitive, I think. There have been times where I'd lean forward and it would lock up on me. And the only way to get it to unlock would be to actually unfasten the belt, let it fully retract, and then put it on again.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:39 PM   #613
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Automatic seat belts began popping up in cars in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. They were the state-of-the-art passenger protection until airbags were developed later on.

Those automatic seatbelts probably saved my dad's life in 1978. He was driving a VW Rabbit which had them by then. He had just bought the car a few months earlier. He was in a head-on crash at 40 MPH and got banged up a bit but recovered fully. Those automatic seatbelts, unlike anything I had seen before (I was 15 at the time), also had a new feature (standard today) in which they tighten up when there is a sharp reduction in the car's speed. They tightened up so much that he had a huge diagonal welt across his chest, and that was through a shirt and heavy wool sport jacket and its collar. Better that than a huge impact between his head and the windshield (he still had a cut above his eye) or his torso and the steering column. And he wasn't one who always wore a seatbelt before he bought the Rabbit.

I surely agree with tougher drunk driving laws along with an increase in the drinking age from 18 to 21 brought down death rates in the 1980s.
I agree with all you said. Think MADD was formed in 1980. That certainly had an impact. As I recall when we moved here you couldn't buy liquor by the drink, had to go to a private club. However 3.2 beer was sold at age 18, in grocery stores, as it wasn't an intoxicating beverage. You could drink them driving down the road legally. Times have changed.

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Old 09-30-2014, 03:42 PM   #614
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+1. As a bicyclist, I often have an awkward feeling when interrupting a drivers cell phone conversation with my screams.
Then stop screaming at them for Pete's sake, they might drop their phone!
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:45 PM   #615
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Sorry to get back on topic, but a small update for those who actually read the first post in this voluminous (and growing) thread.

I bumped into A in the library this morning. She was urgently trying to get something done for her volunteer position at our kids' school. All of her computers at home were broken she said, so she had to go up to the public library to use the free computers and internet there.

To help her out, I watched her 4 year old kid during the children's story time while she worked away. After the story time was over, I asked her if she could have her husband call me about some roofing and siding work (he's a handyman/carpenter by trade).

I found out he's not steadily employed and currently works here and there with a friend for $100/day. At that rate, I might have him replace all my siding and my roof and just pay for materials and time if that's something he's interested in.
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:48 PM   #616
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I found out he's not steadily employed and currently works here and there with a friend for $100/day. At that rate, I might have him replace all my siding and my roof and just pay for materials and time if that's something he's interested in.
I would think that rather than being resentful he'd be grateful to have the work and that you thought highly enough of him to trust him to do it.
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:49 PM   #617
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At $100/day I'd be curious. Especially if he has any special skills in a needed arena.

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Sorry to get back on topic, but a small update for those who actually read the first post in this voluminous (and growing) thread.

I bumped into A in the library this morning. She was urgently trying to get something done for her volunteer position at our kids' school. All of her computers at home were broken she said, so she had to go up to the public library to use the free computers and internet there.

To help her out, I watched her 4 year old kid during the children's story time while she worked away. After the story time was over, I asked her if she could have her husband call me about some roofing and siding work (he's a handyman/carpenter by trade).

I found out he's not steadily employed and currently works here and there with a friend for $100/day. At that rate, I might have him replace all my siding and my roof and just pay for materials and time if that's something he's interested in.
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:56 PM   #618
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At $100/day I'd be curious. Especially if he has any special skills in a needed arena.
Had a carpenter/handyman neighbor who has been unemployed for a while do some patio construction for me this summer. The rate was about the same, $12/hour. He did great work and we both gained from the arrangement, including getting to know each other better.
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Old 09-30-2014, 06:21 PM   #619
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At $100/day I'd be curious. Especially if he has any special skills in a needed arena.
I think he needs the work and that was what his buddy who he's working with occasionally gives him (according to his wife). He might charge me a bit more but I haven't actually talked with him yet. I wouldn't be surprised to have him ask me for more than that if he quotes me an hourly or daily rate, and even more if he quotes the whole job as a lump sum.

It's not too far out of the ordinary price for labor here in the South, so it doesn't raise any red flags for me.
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Old 09-30-2014, 07:50 PM   #620
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I found out he's not steadily employed and currently works here and there with a friend for $100/day. At that rate, I might have him replace all my siding and my roof and just pay for materials and time if that's something he's interested in.
My only concern would be if they have their own insurance if (God forbid) one of them slips off a ladder, or injures themself on your property.

I'd bet if he's not steadily employed, he's not paying the $$$ needed to keep up an insurance policy.
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