The guardian maps 369,629 road fatalities in America’s between 2001 and 2009. Despite the very serious and sad fact that you are looking at a sea of purple death, this map is very interesting. A few things to notice before you go poking around.
First, as I mention above, the map is almost entirely purple. The color used to represent motor vehicle occupants. At the national scale you are hard pressed to spot clusters of pedestrians and cyclists. Motor cyclists are scattered on the map. Pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists are at higher risk (Beck, et al., 2007) but motor vehicle occupants make up the majority of cases (public health readers will probably be thinking of Geoffrey Rose right now). Anyway, I’m writing a paper on that very subject as we speak.
Second, notice that you can basically trace the major highways in the US by mapping the collisions. If I need to drive from one place to the next all I need to do is follow the collisions.
Finally, here is a quote from that Rose guy “If a problem is common and has been around for a long time, then people come to accept it even if it is large: it is the exceptional or new which causes alarm. The toll of deaths from road traffic accidents vastly exceeds that from crashing aero planes, but only the latter lead to public health inquiries (p.57).” Touché.