Are There Benefits to Higher Fuel Prices?

July 11, 2008

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- Have you ever thought about the benefits of high gas prices.

Well a recent study says that rising fuel cost could decrease the number of auto deaths, with the most dramatic numbers being teenage drivers.

A lot of us gripe at the pumps about rising fuel prices.

But it seems that high prices could be having a positive effect on the most important consideration while we're behind the wheel our safety.

A recent study says that higher fuel prices decrease the number of auto deaths.

A 10% increase in fuel results in a 2.3% decrease in deaths behind the wheel.

Those numbers more dramatic in teens; 6% decrease in ages 15 to 17 and 3.2% in 18 to 21.

The study says higher prices make us drive less and slower which in turn reduces the severity of accidents on the road.

That's changes safety officials gladly welcome.

"It's exciting news for the department of public safety and law enforcement all over the state," said Colonel J. Christopher Murphy, director for the Department of Public Safety.

But there is sobering news higher prices mean more people have switched to smaller, lighter cars, and riding motorcycles and scooters more frequently.

"That's one of the hardest things that a trooper has to do is knock on the door of a family and tell them one of their loved ones has perished in a traffic accident," said Col. Murphy.

Since this time last year the number of deaths on Alabama's roadways has decreased by 82 fatalities.

Reporter: Daniel Curtis