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Do State Homicide rates predict traffic fatalities? According to a University of Michigan study, they do. The study found that there was a parallel with the number of homicides and the number of traffic deaths. What seems to be the reason for this? Aggression.

The study looked at ten factors and "found that seven of them accounted for 71 percent of the variance in traffic fatality rates." Those seven are "homicide rates, proportion of male drivers, proportion of older drivers, number of alcohol-related liver failures (as a proxy for intoxicated driving), density of physicians, seat-belt use rate, and income." Apparently, the strongest predictor of these seven are homicides because homicides relate to aggression which relates to aggressive driving.

What does this teach us? We need to respect others on the roadways. We can’t be in a hurry all of the time. We cannot drive while we are doing several other things: texting, playing with the radio, putting on makeup, using the telephone, changing CD’s, and having too much noise and distractions in the car. We need to realize that we share the road with others, and we need to understand that different people have different driving styles just as different people have different psychological makeups.

During this holiday season, think before you act. Take a few miles per hour off your speedometer. Leave a little early for that appointment or meeting so you aren’t in a rush. Be more passive on the roadways, and maybe you will save a life.

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