Why Are American Drivers so Deadly?

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Why Are American Drivers so Deadly?

Post by MSI »

Excellent NYTimes article in Magazine section this past weekend

Why Are American Drivers so Deadly?
After decades of declining fatality rates, dangerous driving has surged again.

  • Excellent read, main points we have been pointing out for decades
  • Speed Kills - From the Ny Times article:
    • "In 2020 and 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has calculated, approximately a quarter of all fatal wrecks in the United States involved vehicles traveling above the posted speed limit; a significant percentage of the dead, whether passenger or driver, were not wearing seatbelts. "
    Why not make speeding fines as punative as DUI since speeding is just as deadly?
    • Bring back Red Light Cameras and Speed cameras!!
    • Penalize THE CAR! not the driver,
      • Also from the NY Times article:
        • "As of 2023, 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized speed cameras, and 22 states and D.C. have legalized red-light cameras. But eight states have taken measures to outlaw both. In a representative example, in 2013, two St. Louis drivers contested red-light-camera-related citations, claiming that someone else was behind the wheel of their vehicles at the time of the infractions. Their challenge reached the Missouri Supreme Court, which ruled those citations unconstitutional, because they shifted the burden of proving the identity of the driver onto the drivers themselves. For years, nearly every speed and red-light camera in Missouri would be turned off."
      • so lawyers can't argue the driver wasn't driving
    • Have high enough penalties so folks will get the idea: SLOW DOWN!!
  • Distracted Driving Kills -
    • Need more enforcement or activate technology to limit texting and cell phone use while driving?
      Being on a conversation takes your thought process away from the driving task and can be DEADLY!
Also from the NY Times article...
  • NY Times article also include a discussion of our obsession with BIG CARS & TRUCKS and...
    • "The bigger the vehicle, the less visibility it affords, and the more destruction it can wreak. In a report published in November, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit, concluded that S.U.V.s or vans with a hood height greater than 40 inches — standard-issue specs for an American truck in 2023 — are 45 percent more likely to kill pedestrians than smaller cars."
    Also from the article, Aggressive Road Rage is on the rise:
    • "The problem today, in the United States, may be that we’re all baseline angry and anxious — and we’re all in a car, all the time. Or what feels like it, anyway. Outside the few fully walkable cities or the ones with reliable public transportation, most communities require a car to traverse. And traverse slowly: Traffic is up across the country, as is the duration of our average one-way commutes, which recently topped 27 minutes, the longest in our history."
    They point out our roads need work
    • "Forty-three percent of our 4.2 million miles of road, meanwhile, are in poor or mediocre condition, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. And they’re unlikely to be repaired soon, given the $786 billion construction backlog."
    They also, unfortunately, jump on the 'anti car manufacturer' band wagon...
    • "Under increased government pressure, the auto industry has rolled out technology that can nudge us away from using our phones — multiple car manufacturers, for example, have placed sensors on some of its cars that are capable of detecting when a driver’s eyes wander from the road and of issuing a warning via a dash display. But such features are overridable and are available mostly as expensive add-ons to already expensive vehicles."
    • Apparently, they didn't read the book:
      • Ralph Nader, Vehicle Safety & GM Damage Control which included
        • Detroit added seatbelts as an included option well before it was mandated by Federal regulation.
          In several examples Whyte demonstrates that politicians talked the talk of safety but didn't walk the walk...
        • And all the secret 'behind the scenes' work by Nadar to vilify the auto industry and his ignoring objective testing initiated BY HIS BOOK which refuted many of his findings in the book. He ignored them and carried on.
Overall the NY Times article was an excellent read, see the full article Why Are American Drivers so Deadly?
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