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More On Safety

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  • murdoch
    I was thinking a bit more today about the 100+ people who die every day on average, on US roads alone, due to traffic accidents, and the countless others who
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 10, 2005
      I was thinking a bit more today about the 100+ people who die every
      day on average, on US roads alone, due to traffic accidents, and the
      countless others who are injured in body or property and have the
      courses of their lives changed by the violence we should link quite
      clearly with car use.

      1. Why do we "accept" this.... as some sort of immutable situation?
      It can be fixed. We caused this situation and we can fix it. Yes,
      I'm sure travel had its severe dangers (falling off a horse, etc.)
      before cars existed, but 100+ deaths per day (in just one country!) is
      not acceptable. If people were getting into elevators or other
      man-made machines and dying at such a ridiculous rate, would we accept
      the situation?

      2. To some extent we seem to have a self-fulfilling prophesy on our
      hands, when it comes to SUVs and the added danger they bring to the
      road for the rest of us. For years we have listened (aghast, in some
      of our cases) to the snotty responses made by SUV advocates who have
      replied that if you are concerned with safety you must buy an
      ever-larger vehicle.

      Sure, if you ride around in a tank, you can protect *yourself*, but
      are less able to protect others from the effects of your own vehicle.
      Never mind a person who might want to be altruistic and consider
      others before himself.... that is not the only reason to want to drive
      a vehicle that you can control and keep from injuring others.

      It is also a matter of acknowledging that establishing a *safer
      overall transportation system* requires *cooperation* and rational
      agreements, neither of which is inherent to the "just buy a tank and
      stop complaining or I will label you a liberal" approach to fixing
      transportation safety.

      As bigger and bigger vehicles became the norm, driving bicycles and
      walking and driving motorcycles and small cars became ever yet more
      dangerous, requiring (in the eyes of the tank-advocates) even bigger
      vehicle-purchases.

      We need a safer transportation system, in my view, and this will
      require not only changes in vehicles but also in the system.
    • Jason Nelson
      ... I believe you could accomplish 90% of your goal just with changes to the wetware driving the vehicles. Drivers are far and away the most dangerous aspect
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 12, 2005
        >We need a safer transportation system, in my view, and this will
        >require not only changes in vehicles but also in the system.
        >

        I believe you could accomplish 90% of your goal just with changes to the
        wetware driving the vehicles. Drivers are far and away the most dangerous
        aspect of most vehicles. Change the system, sure, change the vehicles,
        sure, but change the people first. Of course, I expect that changes to the
        system and every vehicle on the road would be easier to accomplish.

        Leave early, drive slow.
        Relax.
        Watch out for the other idiot.
        That would resolve a huge percentage of the accidents.
      • rionharmon
        ... Jason, I think you have a good point about changing the driver. It s important. The thing is people won t change unless they are ACUTELY aware of what s
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 13, 2005
          --- In evworld@yahoogroups.com, "Jason Nelson" <JasonAndRadonna@h...> wrote:

          > >We need a safer transportation system, in my view, and this will
          > >require not only changes in vehicles but also in the system.
          > >
          >
          > I believe you could accomplish 90% of your goal just with changes to the
          > wetware driving the vehicles. Drivers are far and away the most dangerous
          > aspect of most vehicles. Change the system, sure, change the vehicles,
          > sure, but change the people first. Of course, I expect that changes to the
          > system and every vehicle on the road would be easier to accomplish.
          >
          > Leave early, drive slow.
          > Relax.
          > Watch out for the other idiot.
          > That would resolve a huge percentage of the accidents.


          Jason,

          I think you have a good point about changing the driver. It's important. The thing is people
          won't change unless they are ACUTELY aware of what's going on. It takes a slap in the
          face.

          The way to change the people is simple...

          Every car should be forced to come standard with a display that explicity shows your
          average miles per gallon, and your current miles per gallon.

          It would turn it into a game much like it has become with Prius drivers, and even my
          father, who used to be a lead foot and now babys the pedal since he hopped into his
          Lexus 400h (he's currently averaging 27 miles per gallon).

          People nowadays need things spelled out for them in big bold letters. The key is to make
          driving into a video game, since thats all that seems to get peoples attention these days.
          Make it a game of "how good of gas mileage can I get out of my car," instead of "how fast
          can I drive and how many cars can I weave in and out of without getting into an accident."

          Psychologically, knowing how pathetic of gas mileage you are presently getting is
          powerful. A sticker on the side of the car that says "17/19 MPG," isn't.

          Knowledge is power.

          The fact is, most people don't like watching their money being thrown away.
        • murdoch
          Last year I got a speeding ticket, and felt well-served by a traffic school class (jail for a day I once heard a person call it) that focused on improving the
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 13, 2005
            Last year I got a speeding ticket, and felt well-served by a traffic school
            class (jail for a day I once heard a person call it) that focused on improving
            the attitude of attendees, once they got behind a wheel. It gave me a lot of
            food for thought, and since then I have really focused on a lot of the matters
            raised here and elsewhere, improving the safety with which I have conducted my
            vehicle.

            So, I strongly agree with the idea that by changing the way we are driving many
            of our vehicles, we can bring significant improvements to safety and
            significantly lower the terrible epidemic tragic deaths and injuries and
            property losses that are so life-affecting.

            I totally disagree with the 90% figure or anything close to it. Whether we are
            talking about improving the safety of our driving system or addressing the need
            to change over to better forms of energy, we each have our "pet" favorite
            solutions and that is understandable, but this should not allow us to think that
            our favorite solutions, even if they are more critical than many others, are
            "the" solution.

            I don't care how careful people are in conducting their vehicles, we still live
            within a traffic system that is inherently set up to be flawed and ultimately
            fatal to even the most careful drivers and their passengers and those who might
            inadvertently (despite the greatest care) injure them.

            The problems include (but are absolutely not limited to) botched traffic
            engineering including accidents-waiting-to-happen intersections and roads
            functioning in ways they were not designed to handle, areas where the roads are
            engineered to make it difficult for strangers to avoid certain pitfalls,
            ever-increasing traffic that ultimately can make dangerous even the most
            safety-minded community of people, blown-out-tires, animals, children near roads
            who don't understand the ins and outs, old drivers who have not adjusted
            properly for their age, inxperienced drivers improperly allowed behind the wheel
            in some conditions without sufficient training and with poor immature attitudes,
            problems train intersections, road debris, mixtures of speeds and types of
            traffic (60 mph trucks and 80 mph cars and 10 mph bicycles and 3 mph
            pedestrians) and then yes of course, drivers with various poor attitudes that
            are a breach of good faith in the social contract we all inherently accept when
            we get behind the wheel.

            (Drunk Driving is such an act of bad faith, aside from being illegal, but it is
            not the only such act... It is an example of a "pet" cause where some people
            exaggerate and portray it as nearly "the" cause of deaths... I absolutely agree
            it is statistically way up there, but it is not at all the only thing we need to
            fix).

            Also of course we have vehicle design and manufacturing problems that lead to
            injury and death.

            So, yes, by all means, starting or nearly-starting with driver improvement and
            attitude improvement and such sounds like a good thought, I do not dispute it.

            However, in my view, as critical as I agree that it is, I don't think it is
            quite going to reduce US deaths from 40,000 per year to 4,000 per year. I guess
            having written all this out though, I do go back to the Traffic Class I took,
            and the lessons I took away from it, and admit that maybe I'm wrong... maybe it
            will statistically prove to be "that" important. I'd love to believe that when
            we each find it necessary to get behind the wheel, we do so with a firm
            conscious commitment to understanding clearly we are performing what is for many
            of us by far the most dangerous activity we will be doing that day or week or
            month, that we are conducting heavy machinery with some amount of speed and
            Kinetic Energy, in public, only feet away from our fellow citizens also doing
            the same thing, that we are rolling the dice not only with our own lives but
            with our fellow citizens' lives.

            I often remark to people that it's sort of an amazing thing in part because
            we're trusting (or trying to trust) others to conduct their vehicles safely near
            our own, just feet away from us at high speeds.... in many cases people who we
            wouldn't want to step within 100 feet of our homes.... sort of an amazing social
            contract achievement.

            But... flawed. It's still a role of the dice, and it should not be, and we
            should not accept this, the way that we seem to sometimes seem to do.

            Many things are going to have to happen for us to reach the desired goal of
            reduction and then total elimination of road deaths and injuries. Yes, we need
            better attitudes and driving and such, but that's not the only thing.



            On Thu, 13 Oct 2005 14:39:45 -0000, you wrote:

            >--- In evworld@yahoogroups.com, "Jason Nelson" <JasonAndRadonna@h...> wrote:
            >
            >> >We need a safer transportation system, in my view, and this will
            >> >require not only changes in vehicles but also in the system.
            >> >
            >>
            >> I believe you could accomplish 90% of your goal just with changes to the
            >> wetware driving the vehicles. Drivers are far and away the most dangerous
            >> aspect of most vehicles. Change the system, sure, change the vehicles,
            >> sure, but change the people first. Of course, I expect that changes to the
            >> system and every vehicle on the road would be easier to accomplish.
            >>
            >> Leave early, drive slow.
            >> Relax.
            >> Watch out for the other idiot.
            >> That would resolve a huge percentage of the accidents.
            >
            >
            >Jason,
            >
            >I think you have a good point about changing the driver. It's important. The thing is people
            >won't change unless they are ACUTELY aware of what's going on. It takes a slap in the
            >face.
            >
            >The way to change the people is simple...
            >
            >Every car should be forced to come standard with a display that explicity shows your
            >average miles per gallon, and your current miles per gallon.
            >
            >It would turn it into a game much like it has become with Prius drivers, and even my
            >father, who used to be a lead foot and now babys the pedal since he hopped into his
            >Lexus 400h (he's currently averaging 27 miles per gallon).
            >
            >People nowadays need things spelled out for them in big bold letters. The key is to make
            >driving into a video game, since thats all that seems to get peoples attention these days.
            >Make it a game of "how good of gas mileage can I get out of my car," instead of "how fast
            >can I drive and how many cars can I weave in and out of without getting into an accident."
            >
            >Psychologically, knowing how pathetic of gas mileage you are presently getting is
            >powerful. A sticker on the side of the car that says "17/19 MPG," isn't.
            >
            >Knowledge is power.
            >
            >The fact is, most people don't like watching their money being thrown away.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Gil Dawson
            ... At any intersection in California, the rules, and your role with the other cars, change depending upon whether or not the opposing traffic has a stop sign.
            Message 5 of 7 , Oct 14, 2005
              At 9:15 AM -0700 10/13/05, murdoch wrote:
              > we still live
              >within a traffic system that is inherently set up to be flawed

              At any intersection in California, the rules, and your role with the
              other cars, change depending upon whether or not the opposing traffic
              has a stop sign. In effect, then, a critical piece of information is
              communicated to you by the back side of the sign, viewed at an
              edge-on angle. The backside of a stop sign may thus be the only
              traffic signal that is not generally oriented so as to be certain
              that you see it.

              >So, yes, by all means, starting or nearly-starting with driver improvement and
              >attitude improvement and such sounds like a good thought, I do not dispute it.

              Attitude improvement, such as courtesy instead of competition? How
              shall we encourage courtesy in this land of fallen dreams and broken
              promises? We seem more to be in each other's way than in each
              other's service. Competition in the marketplace flows into the
              streets. Who will stanch it?

              Attitude begins with the television set. Why else would we ban
              cigarettes and liquor from our screens? When our entertainment
              scribes learn to sell fast food and fast cars through the use of
              courtesy then traffic might change.

              I noticed, on a road trip to Denver, that traffic becomes much calmer
              after las Vegas. People drive the speed limit because they can; it's
              no longer a special treat. Cars line up in the left lane to pass a
              truck; cutting in line seems rare and rude and done usually with
              California plates.

              When I lived in Texas, we nodded our heads knowingly when a car with
              California plates came into view. There's even a ticketable
              violation there called the "California Stop".

              --Gil
            • murdoch
              ... Good point. I ve always struggled with this, but never found a way to articulate it... you role up to an intersection, but aren t quite sure....
              Message 6 of 7 , Oct 14, 2005
                On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 14:14:56 -0700, you wrote:

                >At 9:15 AM -0700 10/13/05, murdoch wrote:
                >> we still live
                >>within a traffic system that is inherently set up to be flawed
                >
                >At any intersection in California, the rules, and your role with the
                >other cars, change depending upon whether or not the opposing traffic
                >has a stop sign. In effect, then, a critical piece of information is
                >communicated to you by the back side of the sign, viewed at an
                >edge-on angle. The backside of a stop sign may thus be the only
                >traffic signal that is not generally oriented so as to be certain
                >that you see it.

                Good point. I've always struggled with this, but never found a way to
                articulate it... you role up to an intersection, but aren't quite sure....
              • robert luis rabello
                Gil Dawson wrote: Most people who live in California came there from somewhere else, so there isn t a genetic predisposition for rudeness among Californians.
                Message 7 of 7 , Oct 14, 2005
                  Gil Dawson wrote:

                  Most people who live in California came there from somewhere else, so
                  there isn't a genetic predisposition for rudeness among Californians.
                  As for driving, I would FAR prefer driving anywhere in California
                  than Vancouver! And Vancouver is way better than almost any city on
                  the eastern seaboard that I have visited.

                  Safety is a mind set, not a geographic location.

                  robert luis rabello
                  "The Edge of Justice"
                  Adventure for Your Mind
                  http://www.newadventure.ca

                  Ranger Supercharger Project Page
                  http://www.members.shaw.ca/rabello/
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