By Vernon Betkey

Singer Kenny Chesney recorded a song titled, “Don’t Blink,” and in the lyrics he says that “a hundred years goes faster than you think.” Time certainly seems to fly by pretty quickly, and the older we get, the quicker it goes. As a young child, you probably remember waiting for Santa Claus to arrive and thinking that Christmas sure takes a long time to get here. Now, as an adult, you might say, “It’s Christmas time already?”

Where does the time go and what happened? I ran across some interesting facts, including some traffic safety stats, comparing two dates 100 years apart and listed a few items below.

TOPIC 1914 2014
US Population 99 million 314 million
Average life expectancy for men 47 years 77.4 years
One Gallon of Gasoline $0.12 (Sold in Drug Stores) $2.75
One Pound of Sugar $0.04 $0.61
One Dozen Eggs $0.14 $2.00
Pound of Coffee $0.15 $4.71
Number of Cars 1.7 million 247 million
Paved Roads 144 miles 6,348,227 miles
Maximum Speed Limit 10 mph (Cities) 85 mph (Interstate)
Traffic Deaths 4,468 32,719*
Murders 230 16,410
Leading Causes Of Death 1.     Pneumonia and influenza
2.     Tuberculosis
3.     Diarrhea
4.     Heart disease
5.     Stroke
1.     Heart disease: 596,577
2.     Cancer: 576,691
3.     Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,943
4.     Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,932
5.     Accidents (unintentional injuries): 126,438 – Includes M/V deaths
Law Enforcement Officer Line of Duty Deaths (LODD) 116 126
American Flag 45 Stars 50 Stars
US Wage $0.22/Hour $7.25/Hour
Median US Household Income $200 to $400/Year $49,486
Population of Las Vegas 30 603,488

* 2013 FARS

Some interesting comparisons are presented, and it’s easy to see how time has drastically changed prices and numbers. But, as most categories change, some remain the same, and it’s sad to note the number of LODD. Although the numbers are fairly close for 1914 and 2014, over that 100 year period an average of 175 officers died each year in the line of duty. According to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund Preliminary 2014 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report, 49 officers died as a result of traffic-related incidents in 2014, an 11 percent increase from the 44 traffic-related deaths the previous year. Thirty-five officers were killed in automobile crashes, nine officers were struck and killed outside their vehicles and five officers were killed in motorcycle crashes.

Not only do we have the responsibility to protect and educate the millions of motorists traveling the highways, we also need to continue educating the more than 900,000 law enforcement officers protecting our country on the value of traffic safety for their community and for them personally. The NLELP website, www.NLELP.org, contains several officer safety resources from a variety of partners to assist with this education process. Please take a few minutes to review the information and share it with your law enforcement network.

Hopefully, the next time we blink and “a hundred years goes faster than you think,” we will see a very significant decrease in the number of LODD and get those traffic-related incidents close to ZERO.