In a statement, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland stressed vigilance: “Even as we celebrate [yes, he said “celebrate”] the progress we’ve made in recent years, we must remain focused on addressing the safety issues that are continuing to claim more than 30,000 lives each year.”
“The safety issues” of which Administrator Strickland speaks? “Those” would be the automobile itself, would “they” not?
As for “the progress we’ve made in recent years,” that is otherwise known as the Great Recession.
Look for a huge spike in U.S. traffic deaths in 2012. Should be another lesson in Big Brotherism when they make that jump official.
From Automotive News:
Chevy aimed to stick with its Americana theme through playing off the last line of the Pledge of Allegiance: “With liberty and justice for all,” one of the sources said.
US car crash deaths, 2009: 33,963
US annual expenditures on automobiles, gas, repair, parking, insurance, and roads: >$1 trillion (my calculations from government and insurance industry data, see Courting Carmageddon, my forthcoming book)
Total outstanding U.S. automotive loan debt: $1 trillion (sources: here minus here)
“I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.” Charles E. Wilson, GM President
The Orwellianly-named National Highway Traffic Safety Administration usually releases its final count of the annual U.S. death toll from car crashes in early August, when the fewest possible people are paying attention to the news.
This year, they are making a big deal out of their preliminary estimate of the 2009 fatality count. That’s because car-crash deaths last year fell to their lowest level since 1954. “This is exciting news!”, gushed US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
So, quiz question, folks: How many U.S. residents died in such a wonderful, exciting year for automotive collisions last year? 33,963. That’s 2,830 a month. That’s 653 a week. That’s 93 a day. That’s more than 11 times as many people as died in the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks.
But, it’s “exciting news,” rather than an unforgettable and unforgivable atrocity times eleven.
Why is that? If all people are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights, including the right not to be wantonly killed, then why is the disparity in our consciousness about the forces of evil so huge? What kind of a society treats 40,000 deaths a year from its main means of everyday mobility as “exciting news”? What kind of media parrots that remarkable interpretation? Why, for that matter, is Consumer Reports among those media?