The fact that
almost 42,000 people were killed last year, innocent victims, in violent
deaths and millions more are injured, often severely crippled, simply going
about their daily business in or near automobiles should, and will, create
a groundswell of rage to force solutions to be enacted by those who sit
passively and watch the horror. We need efficient and affordable public
transportation nationwide, safe (truly safe) automobiles, and laws that
give law enforcement agencies the ability to protect and control drivers
and passengers on roads and highways. Perhaps a memorial like the Viet
Nam Veterans Memorial would make and keep people aware of the number of
people who have been killed in and by automobiles. The design of such a
memorial will be difficult, however, for thousands of names will have to
be added each month.
The most severe problem facing the citizens of the United States today, the greatest threat to public safety, and one of the most dire, unbelievable catastrophes in history continues, unabated, and the death toll is rising at the rate of 115 per day. 41,471 people were killed by automobiles in 1998, and 3,192,000 were injured. A disaster of this magnitude needs immediate and drastic action. The simple act of transporting a child to school or to the library or to visit relatives has become like an act out of a violent horror story.
We citizens are responsible. We must hold the government accountable, at the federal, state, and local level. Write them, informing them of your concern. Monitor their voting record on issues of public transportation, automobile safety , traffic law, and funds for law enforcement of traffic violations , and vote accordingly.
Let the automobile industry know, with your voice and with your wallet, that our lives, our children's lives, are more important than their profit margin. Encourage them to take the steps necessary to make automobiles safe. Forty-two thousand lives should not be an acceptable standard in determining that cars and trucks are safe enough. Redesign is what is called for, instead of band aid measures, and fights to reduce or limit safety standards to decrease costs. As they build more and more large vehicles, appealing (falsely) to our instinct for self preservation, the death toll will increase as these larger and heavier vehicles share the road with smaller, more vulnerable vehicles. Many auto company advertising campaigns now play to our worst impulses, promoting speed and aggression, over safety and civility.
Appeal to the media to report what is truly important to all of us, what
the real dangers are, perhaps with regular features, reporting accident
data, status of laws and the stands of proponents and opponents, auto industry
efforts to apply, or discourage, true safety standards, and reports on
law enforcement efforts in combating unsafe driving and preventing disasters
and, perhaps most important, use their forum to educate us in what safe
driving measures are. Encourage law enforcement officials and officers
to apply their resources where the data declares they belong, in the enforcement
of traffic safety, and to treat unsafe driving as the criminal act that
These and other measures are critical if we wish the death, injury, and phenomenal taxpayer property loss to cease, but the government, the heads of the automobile industry and its subsidiaries, and the media will take action only if we let them know loudly and unceasingly that we are outraged and won't stand for it. But the most important thing we can do as citizens who care for life over greed or speed is to recognize the great responsibility of piloting 3000 to 6000 pounds of steel down a roadway upon which lives are dependent upon you and your actions. Think, when the need to hurry arises: is it worth risking someone else's, a child's, life? Obey the speed limits, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, don't weave in and out of traffic in what will be a futile, and possibly fatal, effort to save a few minutes or seconds, and drive especially cautiously in residential areas, or areas where children and other pedestrians are vulnerable. Of the 5412 pedestrians and 761 pedal cyclists killed by automobiles in 1996, 666 of the pedestrians killed were children, and 223 of the pedal cyclists killed were children (0 to 14 years). Our lives, our children's lives, are at stake when we are behind the wheel.
Please, help spread the word. Write the President, the Vice President, the First Lady, your Congressperson, your Senator, your state and city elected officials, auto companies, your local and national newspapers, local law enforcement officials, friends and relatives. Make a noise and make a change. Visit links for more information, and places to begin making your voice heard.
Despite the fact that almost 42,000 people were killed and millions more were injured in or by automobiles last year in the United States, certain automobile corporations are presenting television ads that promote the very practices that are leading contributors to these fatal and disastrous events. The roads are becoming exponentially more crowded as the population grows, and socially acceptable driving practices are becoming more and more antisocial and dangerous. The government continues to funnel hundreds of billions of our tax dollars annually toward the support of this industry, at the expense of the development of safe, environmentally friendly, and friendlier modes of transportation. The news media ignores the problem, if 42,000 people were killed by planes or trains or in a war in one year we would hear a constant and deafening television roar, and heads would roll and changes would be made. But this industry has proven itself to be concerned only with profit, and with vast sums of money to politicians, and to media outlets are buying the right to sell a product and a mode of transportation, and a way of life that causes immense grief and suffering. They receive no penalty, and are allowed to continue their profitable and deadly game without censure or appeal. And now, amazingly, they are blatantly encouraging us in television and print ads to drive fast, drive aggressively, arm ourselves with killer tanks (the SUV); they now bear even more responsibility for the carnage. They must be held accountable. The time has come to make a change.
Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving List of Automakers' E-Mail and Addresses: Write them directly and express your concern about this dangerous practice.
|Get the Facts|
|government / industry sponsored auto and highway safety sites: statistics, data|
|what other groups and citizens are doing and saying about the auto and highway safety crisis|
|contact your governmental and law enforcement officials, the industry, and the media|
|alternative news and magazines on the web, and some mainstream news sources|
|environment, sustainability, alternative modes of transportation, etc...||Search|
|search the web for more information|
Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Facts, figures, statistics; official governmental agency in charge of highway safety
National Transportation Safety Board
U.S. Department of Transportation
Governmental agency in charge of all aspects of transportation
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Insurance company sponsored agency devoted to automotive safety; crash test data
Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI)
vehicle ratings, safety facts, news releases
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, health, and safety groups, and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer.
The Fatality Analysis Reporting System
(FARS) contains data on all vehicle crashes in the United States that occur on a public roadway and involve a fatality in the crash.
Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
Nonprofit, nongovernmental agency, committed to safety in general, with department of automotive safety
Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Grassroots, nonpartison, nonprofit organization dedicated to safer roads for all.
Public Citizen is the consumer's eyes and ears in Washington. Auto Safety a key issue. Ford, Firestone, SUV rollover info.
the consumer advocacy web site of Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. This site provides informative and educational materials developed by Consumers Union's advocacy offices on a variety of consumer issues (Ford, Firestone and SUV rollover)
The goal of The Surface Transportation Policy Project is to ensure that transportation policy and investments help conserve energy, protect environmental and aesthetic quality, strengthen the economy, promote social equity, and make communities more livable. We emphasize the needs of people, rather than vehicles.
Center for Responsive Politics
Tracks Political Donations
Road Hog Info Trough
SUV information and campaign for cleaner and safer alternatives
Autos on Welfare report
IN MEMORIAM, A Century of Suffering,101st Anniversary of the first person killed by Automobile in North America.
Jane Holtz Kay
author of "Asphalt Nation" (How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take it Back)
by Jane Holtz Kay-a web book review, from The Preservation Institute, dedicated to developing a new politics that recognizes the limits of technology.
Our role is to help to unite, build and maintain the international car free movement; and to inform, motivate, publicise and empower all groups and individuals fighting against the car's dominance and destructiveness
Action Without Borders
The Idealist, 20,000 non-profit organizations in 150 countries.
breaking news on auto/suv safety, litigation, and lawmaking, targeting the industry and the government
Drive Now, Talk Later
The SUV Anti Fan Club
SUV Safety Issues
reclaim the streets
Critical Mass Hub
Critical Mass is a monthly bicycle ride to take back the streets from cars. The idea started in San Francisco in September 1992, and quickly spread to cities all over the world. This page attempts to be the most complete guide to local Critical Mass sites around the globe.
Critical Mass Times
The ".org" domain notwithstanding, Critical Mass is not an organization, it's an unorganized coincidence. Accordingly, this isn't the official Critical Mass web page, because there is no official CM web page.
E-mail addresses for the President,Vice President,First Lady and Mrs. Gore
Presidential campaign site
Write your Representative
Quick lookup and link to your Representative through zip code
Contact Your Senator
The Electronic Activist
An e-mail address directory of congresspeople, state governments, and media entities.
Tips on communicating with congresspersons
The Public Safety Search Engine
Locate and contact your local Law Enforcement Agency and inform them of your concerns
Tripod sign up
Start your own website, free and easy
Search over 300 current newspapers
Common Dreams News Center
Breaking News, Views for the Progressive Community
U.S. Daily Newspapers and wire services
U.S. Alternative Weeklys
A community of people concerned about social change,Voluminous magazine, E-magazine and more
Asphalt Strawberry, An Internet Magazine
Features and links about the effects of automobiles on the world and alternatives
The Washington Post
electronic town hall
Carfree cities past, present, and future. Solutions to the problem of the urban automobile
Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development:
A Project of the U.S. Dept. of Energy-Transportation
The Center for Livable Communities
helps local governments and community leaders be proactive in their land use and transportation planning, and adopt programs and policies that lead to more livable and resource efficient land use patterns
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) High Speed Ground Transportation
Back On Track
Marcia D. Lowe, In Context Magazine, Article on a rail revival
Harvard Science Review:
Maglev Trains, An Attractive (and Repulsive) Option for Future Travel by Wm. Kitchens
High Speed Rail
Corridor to the Future
National Association of Railroad Passengers
The High Speed Rail/ Automated Transportation Homepage
Information and Technical Exchange
Transportation Research Board
promotes innovation and progress in transportation by stimulating and conducting research, facilitating the dissemination of information, and encouraging the implementation of research results.
American Public Transit Association
The Hubbert Peak of Oil Production
Named after the late Dr. M. King Hubbert, Geophysicist, this website provides data, analysis and recommendations regarding the upcoming peak in the rate of global oil extraction.
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