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I just want to add one more thought to the mix. The fatality rates mentioned are gross averages. They are the mumber of deaths divided by the total number of miles. The distribution of fatality rates would be very intereting. I would wager that the fatality rate on US interstates is considerably lower than that of the European A roads (interstate equivalent}.
I drove around central Euroope for 2 weeks last summer. They have different ideas about road use that most Americans would find bizzare. First, you have to pay to use the A roads. There are no tolls, but you need to display a sticker (one per country thank you). So not only are you paying sky high taxes on gasoline, but you also pay extra to drive the limited access roads. The reason I mention this is coming.
So far so good. It just costs more. The trucks in Europe are limited to 110-120 km/hr. Unlike here, they really limit them through the use of govenrrs. At first I thought this was a good idea. I drive a long way into NJ every day and have to cope with some methed up, lead footed truck drivers who have no hesitation driving 20 ft behind you at 70 mph. And this is when you are in the right lane and there is traffic ahead of you as far as you can see.
Now getting back to Europe most of the A roads have a 130 km/hr speed limit. In reality there is essentially no speed limit in the left lane, but the right lane is limited to 110-120 depending on which truck is driving ahead of you. So if you want to drive 130 km/hr speed limit(about 75 mph) you need to get left to pass the slower trucks. This is where the fun starts.
It seems that some Europeans have an entitlement mentality when it comes to the use of the left lane on the A roads. Some of them get apolectic if you slow them down at all. It wouldn't be so bad all the cars had the same top speed, but they don't. Instead, it's "hey I got this Mercedes or Audi and you better not slow me down even if you are passing slower traffic because it is my right to drive 200 km/hr even though the speed limit is 130 km/hr". They seem to forget that everyomne pays the same toll and gas tax, and hence, has the same rights to the road.
The combination of slow moving trucks and idiots who think they own the left lane is an accident waiting to happen. The end point of this is when traffic density picks up to the point where the left lane loads up. Then the morons are content to drive 10 ft off your rear bumper just to show you that they don't like being slowed down by the 200 cars ahead of you.
This analysis applies to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and to a lesser extent Germany (well Bavaria anyway). Strangely, the Hungarians do not follow suit. They are very polite drivers. I would like to know the fatality rates for these roads based on exposure hours and not miles driven.
Next time, I'm taking a bag of golf balls with me. And if that doesn't get the message across, theres always my 357 magnum.

The Chief

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