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Orange County and the State of California saw fewer fatal car collisions in the year of 2010 when compared with 2009, according to recently released figures.

Aerial view of central Orange County overlooki...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in California said that the state had a total of 2,715 traffic crash fatalities in 2010 – 375 less than the previous year.

Orange County representatives said that 105 traffic deaths were reported in 2010, which was 49 less than in 2009.

These statistics from the NHSTA indicate that in both Orange County and the State of California, traffic fatalities have been dropping since 2006.

According to David Brownstone, a professor of economics at UC Irvine, these statistics are due in part of the economy. He says that people are using their cars less in an effort to save money, because rising gas prices have made it increasingly hard for people to stay afloat.

“If people are hurting (financially) they may not drive as much,” Brownstone said. “If you have less traffic, you have fewer collisions.”

As an expert in transportation economics, Brownstone said that another important factor is that the types of consumer vehicles available today are much safer than previous ones, because they have features such as air bags and anti-lock brakes.

Transportation officials said that highway improvements and safety programs could also be part of the reason. California Highway Patrol Officers were more prone to attribute the decrease to increased patrols.

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