THE DEADLIEST WEAPONS
Suppose I appeared one day and told you about a new form of transportation that would allow people to get from one place to another faster and more conveniently.
It involves potentially allowing people who can barely see or who are senile or psychotic or suicidal or just have short tempers to personally pilot machines weighing two tons at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour within inches of pedestrians, all the while trying to avoid millions of their fellow citizens who are doing the same thing within inches of them.
As a result, this form of transportation will kill 53,000 people a year and maim many hundreds of thousands of others.
So what do you say?
I say, cars are one of the biggest problems we have. Each year in America, more people die in automobile accidents than we lost during the entire Vietnam War.
Yet we treat the right to drive an automobile as an inalienable right that can only be revoked under the most egregious of circumstances, and then only through extraordinary procedures which are rarely invoked.
I still can't believe we let 16-year olds drive!
We need to look at the subject of driving de novo, with a clean slate. It ought to be as tough to get a driver's license as it is to get a pilot's license, with constant re-certification required. People with heart conditions shouldn't be allowed to drive, nor children, nor anybody who's been involved in an accident where negligence or carelessness or general irresponsibility was a factor.
The FAA's 12-hour "bottle-to-throttle" rule should be used: anybody who drives a car within twelve hours of consuming any amount of alcohol should have his license revoked and be liable to criminal prosecution.
Every accident involving death, injury or major damage should be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Nobody gets to "let the insurance company handle it" and get off the hook. Fatalities should be so rare as to be front page news.
I think we have a pretty good chance of making this happen, don't you?
from: A Practical Guide for Everyday Living, by Lee Gruenfeld
* © Copyright 1997, 1998 by Steeplechase Run, Inc. - All Rights Reserved
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