November 20, 2003 | Peter

Fast Cars and Dead Boys

We are going through a little debate here in Perth about cars, speed and young men. It started with debate about how much speed does actually contribute to the accident rate. Obviously it does, but one problem is that the police place their multinovas in locations that maximise revenue, not safety. And if the police wanted to really do soimething about dangerous speeding they’d clamp down on tailgating. From my observations, about 20% of drivers tailgate in traffic now. Interestingly, it is almost as likely to be a young woman in a newish small car as a boy in a performance car (new or old) or a businessman in a Commodore or Falcon or a tradesman in a battered ute.
But with all this debate the manufacturers of high-performance cars manage to avoid responsiblity. They make these cars to be driven fast, and by definition, dangerously and usually illegally. The ads show us how to do it, whether it’s outpacing helicopters, bush-bashing, or driving backwards past semis. And if we miss that message there are countless TV shows and films to show us how to drive recklessly.
These performance cars should be banned and speed governors placed on all new cars. The harsh fact is that boys and increasingly girls simply cannot accept the responsibility to drive carefully, so we shouldn’t then hand them the keys to cars that actually encourage bad driving.
As for motor bikes, a nursing friend once told me about the ward she’d been in chock full of boys with severe brain damage, all of them what the police call ‘temporary Australians’ or bike riders. Apparently they looked quite serene lying there literally without a thought in their head.
We should get over our puerile obsession with cars and instead develop a real interest in the well being of our young, and indeed all road users. But what is the chance of this happening once the car, oil, media and all the other vested interests get organized?

Posted by Peter at 12:30 pm | Comments Off on Fast Cars and Dead Boys |
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