Gas Prices Help Save Lives

High fuel prices may be cause of 16 percent drop

It looks like there is some good news about higher fuel prices in 2008. Transportation officials in Illinois credit gas costs in part for 16 percent fewer deaths on the state's highways last year.

The Illinois Department of Transportation says 1,042 died in traffic-related wrecks in 2008. That's down 206 from the previous year, but still equates to almost three people per day.

Mike Stout of IDOT's safety division says Illinoisans drove about 4 percent fewer miles last year. He suspects that may be partly because lofty gasoline costs encouraged many to conserve by either driving less or slower.

Stout says Illinois highway crashes killed 92 teenagers last year. That's down 63 from 2007.

Highway fatalities in many other states also dropped last year, with officials widely crediting higher fuel costs as a contributing factor.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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