It couldn’t be that drivers have become better!

Unless they’re old:

Highway deaths have plummeted to their lowest levels in more than 60 years, helped by more people wearing seat belts, better safety equipment in cars and efforts to curb drunken driving…

“Too many of our friends and neighbors are killed in preventable roadway tragedies every day,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will continue doing everything possible to make cars safer, increase seat belt use, put a stop to drunk driving and distracted driving and encourage drivers to put safety first.”

Emphasis mine.

Take a look at that article. It mentions a number of factors which have contributed to the decrease in highway deaths, but it never goes through hoops to make sure we all know that it isn’t because drivers have become better. In fact, the part I put in bold says it all: In addition to safety measures that are independent of the people behind the wheel, drivers are putting safety first. In other words, people are more aware and cautious, i.e., better drivers. But that wasn’t the case when the article was about teens:

“It’s not that teens are becoming safer,” said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an Arlington, Va.-based research group funded by auto insurance companies.

“It’s that state laws enacted in the last 15 years are taking teens out of the most hazardous driving situations,” such as driving at night or with other teens in the car, he said.

In fact, it’s likely teens today are better drivers than teens of past generations. All the laws that are in place do get followed by most teens, whether people want to admit it or not. Even if it only happens once they get caught the first time, they are still following these laws for most of their teenage driving careers. That, by frickin’ definition, makes them better drivers. We can say the same thing about everyone else as well.

The only difference is that no one seems to want to say it.