How Cute

tbone crash A recent press release from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers:

For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2010
Alliance: Wade Newton: (202) 326-5571
Safe Kids: Kate Jones: (202) 662-4478

Washington, DC – The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers today announced that it has joined Safe Kids USA and more than 40 other interested organizations in efforts to increase awareness and urge parents and caregivers to never leave a child alone in a vehicle. In an attempt to make 2010 a year when no more children die from heat stroke by being “forgotten” in a car, safety experts and child advocates remind parents and caregivers to always check for sleeping children before leaving a vehicle.

“I grew up in the southwest and I can say for sure, cracking a window is not enough,” said
Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Safe Kids USA is dedicated to preventing unintentional injury to children. With the help of more than 600 coalitions nationwide, Safe Kids USA works to improve the safety of kids by educating families about child injury risks and prevention, providing safety tips and resources to parents and caregivers, providing safety devices to families in need and advocating for better child safety laws on the national and local levels.

How sweet, no?

How large is this problem?

From 1998 to 2009, 445 children died from heat stroke because they were unattended in vehicles that became too hot. More than 50 percent of them were “forgotten” by a caring adult who became distracted as they left the vehicle. Another 30 percent became victims of heat stroke when they were left unattended by an adult and then gained entry into, and became trapped inside, an unlocked vehicle.

So, about 40 children a year.

And roughly how many children perished in automobile collisions in that same time frame?  In 2008, a relatively low-death year thanks to high gas prices and the Great Recession, there were 6,130 car-crash killings of people aged newborn through 20.

So, for every one child who suffocated or cooked to death in a parked car, there were 153 who died while a car was being operated on the road.

What if we limit the comparison to babies and toddlers?  In 2008, 411 children aged newbie through 5 died in car crashes.

So, ten times more than suffocated or cooked.

Don’t get me wrong.  The fact that 40 children a year get cooked or asphyxiated in automobiles is no laughing matter.  I’m sure none suffered that fate while sitting on buses or trains.  And however many died while walking or biking, they were certainly overwhelmingly killed by somebody operating an automobile in their pathway.

These people — the corporate executives and alliances and politicians, the ones who push cars-first transportation on us — are knowing, for-profit, businesslike murderers.  And their primary beneficiaries — major corporate shareholders — are avid sponsors of this killing, whether they think about it or not.

And, if they aren’t an intentional front in the effort to divert attention from real problems, shame on Safe Kids USA for its pimping of the cars-pushers’ Orwellian efforts.

[Note: According to its latest Annual Report, Safe Kids is heavily subsidized by the NHTSA. This supports my thesis that the core mission of this Ralph Nader-engendered agency is to soft pedal, rather than regulate and reduce, the death and destruction generated by the automotive-industrial sector of the capitalist economy.]