Traffic fatalities have declined across the nation, a recent report showed. Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration placed the number of 2010 road-related deaths at around 33,000 - a count that neared record lows and has not been seen since the 1950s. Put another way, that amounts to 1.1 fatalities per every 100 million vehicles.

Arguably impressive. But drivers may want to refrain from patting one another on the back, at least for now. The Governors Highway Safety Association noted that the reduction in fatal accidents was likely due to improved vehicle safety features, not better behavior behind the wheel.

Approximately one third of all fatal traffic accidents in 2010 were caused by speeding. And according to the GHSA, those statistics have not improved in more than 30 years. Little is being done to address the problem.

In its latest report, "Survey of the States: Speeding and Aggressive Driving," the GHSA noted that just two states have increased speeding fines since 2005. Only 11 have passed aggressive driving legislation. Meanwhile, seven states have bumped up speed limits to 85 miles per hour in some areas.

According to survey data collected in the report, public indifference and lack of personnel are the biggest obstacles to speed enforcement and a reduction in speed-related crashes. Suggestions to counter the hurdles include the passage of aggressive driving laws. Nearly 90 percent of drivers surveyed viewed aggressive driving as "a serious or somewhat serious threat" to safety.

Of course, the real challenge - in California and elsewhere - will be to balance speed control with other traffic safety issues. The state does allocate funds for speed enforcement and speed reduction campaigns.

Source: The Car Connection, "Speeding, Aggressive Driving Still Cause 1/3 Of Fatal Accidents," Richard Read, March 9, 2012