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Traffic Deaths Up 4 Percent in ’84, Largest Rise In Decade

October 29, 1985

CHICAGO (AP) _ The largest increase in traffic fatalilties in 10 years occurred in 1984, apparently because people are driving more during an upswing in the economy, a National Safety Council spokeswoman said today.

The number of people who died on U.S. roads rose 4 percent to 46,200 in l984 from 44,400 in 1983, according to Barbara Carraro, supervisor of motor- vehicle statistics for the council.

″We saw a real drastic downward trend when the economy was on the downswing,″ said Carraro. ″We have found that, historically, where there has been a recessionary period, traffic fatalities go down.

Americans drove about 1.73 trillion miles in 1984, a rise of almost 5 percent from the approximately 1.65 trillion miles they drove in 1983.

The next highest jump in traffic deaths during the decade ending in 1984 was in 1979, when fatalities rose 2 percent over the previous year, Carraro. said. In the other years, traffic fatalties declined, she said.

The increase in deaths last year is probably offset by the effects of an increased awareness in the dangers of drinking and driving, but it is too soon to judge the effects of mandatory seat-belt laws passed by a number of states, said Carraro.

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