Wednesday, September 14 2016 @ 08:29 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
Via New York Times
In the transportation world, there’s something called the “first mile/last mile problem.” It’s a euphemism for forms of mass transportation, like the bus or the train, that require riders to go to stations or bus stops. Americans prefer to move door to door. They want to close one door and find themselves in front of another.
This is one of the reasons why we, as a society, are so car-dependent. Only a system built on trucks and automobiles can do this.
In terms of public health, the National Safety Council’s data on car crashes showed that in 2015, 38,300 people died and 4.4 million were seriously injured.
Why are the numbers so high?
Because everything we do is designed to produce them. We have fictitious speed limits, because the roads are designed to allow vehicles to travel much faster than stated. We have vehicles capable of achieving far higher speeds than the posted limits. Given this, people go too fast. And speeding, we know, is one of the major causes of fatal crashes.
A pedestrian struck by a vehicle going 40 miles an hour has a 10 percent chance of surviving, and one struck by a car at 20 m.p.h. has a 90 percent chance. So when we post a 40-mile maximum speed limit on a boulevard where pedestrians walk, we’re saying that in the event of a crash, a 90 percent mortality rate is acceptable.
These decisions matter. Each of us, over a lifetime, has a one-in-113 chance of dying in a car. That’s crazy, isn’t it? So we bolt extra safety devices onto our vehicles, seatbelts and airbags. Those are all great, but they don’t get to the fundamental problem: We drive way too fast to survive collisions. The bottom line is that speeding is one of the major causes of fatal crashes.