One reason that I can think of for the high number of fatalities in the US is our driver's license system. Each state runs its own Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Many forget that our country was founded with 13 separate states that agreed to unite for the common good. Hence the name: the United States of America. Each state is allowed to make their own rules. My state of Nevada allows 16 year old citizens to drive. It is becoming increasing obvious that 16 year old kids are not mature enough to drive safely. Vegas has had too many teenage drivers kill themselves, their passengers or innocent victims because they lack the skill and experience to cope with all the challenges they face on our streets. Just about anybody can pass the driving test administered by our DMV. You can fail it repeatedly and keep taking it until you pass. I have heard that most countries in Europe make it much tougher to obtain a driver's license than the US does.
Perhaps another reason we have a higher number than many other countries.
Could be related to what BedouinLeo is referring to: maybe more respect for speedlimits and other traffic-related laws (for whatever reason!).
Norway and Switzerland have probably the highest road offence penalty fines of any countries in the world. Maybe that's why their fatality rates are lower. Slow down, avoid the fine and a fatality at the same time. Sounds like a practical solution to me (for whatever reason ! !)
The fact that each state (in the USA) makes its own rules (to a point!) may have something to do with it, but I think a more important fact is the general outlook on driving. In the USA, I sense that most people feel that this is a right not to be denied unless someone is completely inept and unsuitable. In Scandinavia, for instance, it's seen as a privilege, and I know for a fact that it's much more difficult (and expensive) to get a drivers' licence in Sweden, for instance. I have a niece (34) and nephew (27) in Sweden. Neither of them, by choice, has a drivers' licence. Of course, public transport makes this option much more viable in most European countries.
Our DMV states that driving is a privilege. The state of Nevada can and will take the privilege away for DUI and other infractions. But, it is too easy to get a DL. My neighbor has a grand daughter that failed the DL test 5 times. On the 6th attempt she passed. That does not inspire me with confidence in her driving. They need to raise the age to 18 to drive and make the test more difficult for everyone. There are plenty of older drivers that should not have a DL either. It is a political hot potato to take away the DL of seniors. They vote and it is very difficult to take away their 'privilege'.
The ease of getting a DL and our lesser skilled drivers on the road is certainly one of the reasons the US has a pretty high fatality score IMO.
Yes, I know the DMV is telling us that driving is a privilege. But I don't believe that's how most people see it. And that's what I'm referring to - how people tend to look at the issue of driving. And Americans in general tend to see it as a right.
You are absolutely right. Most Americans do see it as their 'right' to drive, and continue to drive until they die. Most older Americans will not voluntarily turn in their DL. This happened to my father. He got in a minor wreck in 2003. The policeman investigating the crash did not like his ability to walk or answer questions. He required him to go back to DMV and pass the entire test. Eye, written and driving. My dad was 83 at the time. It took him 4 times to pass the written part, never did pass the driving part. He still thought he could drive safely even when the rest of us knew he could not. Like I said, a very difficult issue for all involved.
You are absolutely right. Most Americans do see it as their 'right' to drive,
Damned French !
Vive la Revolution !