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AAA calls highway deaths epidemic

March 8, 2004 at 6:16 PM

DETROIT, March 8 (UPI) -- The head of the American Automobile Association Monday in Detroit decried an "epidemic" of U.S. highway deaths that kills nearly 43,000 people annually.

AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet called the annual highway death toll a serious public health crisis in a speech to the Detroit Economic Club.

"While traffic fatalities per mile traveled have been reduced somewhat, they remain one of the top 10 causes of death in America," Darbelnet said. "And tragically, they remain the number one killer of children and young adults in this country."

Darbelnet praised the World Health Organization for making "Safe Roads" the theme for next month's World Health Day.

AAA will work with the Pan American Health Organization to promote seat belt use among Hispanics in the United States.

More Hispanics under 44 die in vehicle crashes than from any other cause, Darbelnet said. The 45 million member AAA is a leader in advocating vehicle safety in North America.

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