Is compulsory liability insurance making highways safer?

It is asserted that about 53 per cent of the victims of automobile accidents are wage earners. But nothing is said of the fact that now wage earners injured in automobile accidents in the course of their employments are not restricted to seeking damages under the public liability law but are insured relief under the workmen’s compensation laws. Find cheap general auto insurance rates now.

To illustrate: In New York, in 1926, about 5,600 awards of compensation for automobile accidents were made to “employees.” And that is only one phase of the misrepresentation in this assertion. There is no authoritative basis for the estimate that 53 per cent of the injured in automobile accidents are wage earners.

Of the serious injuries in such accidents reported to the New York Bureau of Motor Vehicles, about 30 per cent of those classified are to children of fourteen years of age or under and about 15 per cent are to persons over fifty-five. With all due allowances, these figures indicate that not over 40 per cent of the seriously injured are “gainfully occupied.”

It is asserted that in Massachusetts, compulsory liability insurance is making highways safer; and the prejudiced statement of a Massachusetts public official is quoted to support that assertion. But the Massachusetts compulsory automobile liability insurance law took effect January 1, 1927, and according to figures reported by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States the results were as follows.

The number of people injured in automobile accidents increased from 25,331 in 1926 to 31,721 in 1927, and the number of fatalities increased from 681 in 1926 to 698 in 1927, in spite of a decrease for the same period of 9,316 in the number of motor vehicles registered. These figures may not prove that the Massachusetts law has bred carelessness; but they certainly do not indicate that it exerted any influence toward making highways safer.

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