Monday, March 7, 2022

the last book I ever read (Jessie Singer's There Are No Accidents, excerpt one)

from There Are No Accidents: The Deadly Rise of Injury and Disaster―Who Profits and Who Pays the Price by Jessie Singer:

An immeasurable number of people would be alive today if it were not for what the nascent automobile lobby did next. Carmakers knew that fast and powerful cars were an important selling point. This is one reason that today car’s speedometers go as high as 160 mph, even if your car cannot actually go much faster than 100 mph. To distract from the cold, hard fact that speed kills, the automobile lobby shifted the blame from fast cars to human error.

The Cincinnati Automobile Dealers Association raised $10,000 to fight the speed-governor proposal. The National Automobile Chamber of Commerce sent representatives to the city to help local car salesmen rally votes against the proposal. On the day of the vote, the automobile lobby sent 400 workers to the polls to talk citizens into voting against the speed governors. And, Norton explains, it worked. Despite 42,000 people petitioning to get the law on the ballot, only 14,000 people actually voted for it. The speed governor lost, 6-1.

To exceed the speed limit is a mistake, a human error. The fact that cars can go so fast is a dangerous condition. And because the auto lobby was so successful in reframing the car-murder narrative, when we talk about speeding, we almost always talk about speeders as the problem, not how fast those cars can go.

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