Highway Deaths Hit 13-year High Don’t let the headlines fool you, there’s actually some good news. While total deaths have gone up, that’s because we’re driving more. The more telling figure is the death rate, which is unchanged from last year, and has been dropping for decades. That’s mostly thanks to moral suasion (e.g. drunk driving) and improved technology. What’s less encouraging is the government’s call for tougher seatbelt laws. Like smokers or tightrope walkers, adults who refuse to buckle up know the risks associated with their choices. Better to focus on those who make the rest of us less safe. The feds are more on the mark when they call for cracking down on drunk drivers, still the focus should be on recklessness, whether it’s encouraged by alcohol, fatigue or anything else.