Are you one of the many people plagued by the recent automobile recalls? Plagued by stories about sudden acceleration and failing brakes, the press is reminding us how danger it can be to drive an automobile. A recent segment on NPR discusses the current Toyota recalls and the fact that, while the mechanical and electrical difficulties with the car are not to be ignored,
studies show that the vehicle itself is almost never the sole cause of the accident. Drivers, on the other hand, are wholly to blame most of the time.
One of the panelists, Leonard Evans is a physicist, a former employee of GM and author of the book Traffic Safety. He believes that
the whole history of U.S. traffic safety has been one focusing on the vehicle, one of the least important factors that affects traffic safety.
Evans says his review of the data show that in the decade ending in 2008, about 22,000 people were killed in vehicles made by Toyota or Lexus. All these people were killed because of factors that had absolutely nothing to do with any vehicle defect.
Why isn’t the American public up in arms about the loss of life caused by daily traffic accidents? Why doesn’t the American public react seriously when a person takes another person’s life with their car? Where is the outrage people?
For those drivers who are affected by one of the recent recalls, may I suggest looking at a bicycle or other alternative mode of transportation. You might be surprised and actually find that you enjoy getting around without your car. Yes, there are recalls that affect bicycles, but I have yet to be in a situation where my legs simply refused to stop pedaling or I couldn’t find some way to safely stop my bicycle.