Higher Gas Prices Help Keep Traffic Deaths Down

Fewer motorists are dying on Nebraska roads. This year could see the lowest number of traffic deaths since 1949.

"A lot of people made fun of me because I wasn't drivin' yet and had to keep gettin' rides from people," says Adam Ramsey, who turned 16 on Wednesday. Now he can drive. But with gas prices so high, can teenagers even afford it?

"We used to drive around for fun, but we can't do that anymore because we don't have money,” says Ashley Dowd.

Historically, young drivers are among the highest risk. For the first time in nearly 60 years, fewer people are dying on the nation's roads and high gas prices, experts believe, are a contributing factor by keeping young drivers off the road.

"There's less drivers on the road right now,” says Tom Everson of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25. Here are the Nebraska numbers: This year from January to June, 97 people died in traffic crashes. Last year over the same time frame, the number was 131. The last time it was this low was in 1949.

Some experts believe safer driving may be playing a part as well as high gas prices. "It's not something that we can do for a day or a week or a year,” says Everson. “It's something we really need to make part of the culture."

No doubt the state has put extra restrictions on young drivers, but this is also a generation that's thinking about other things than just driving independence.

“Sometimes we walk to places or just like hang out at one house or car pool because we only make minimum wage so it's not practical to drive everywhere," says Dowd.

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