Freedom Brought to You by the American Auto Industry, Hello Officer, Put the Phone Down, and More
Welcome to the first installment of Car Culture. It will be a place for us to talk, think, and explore our addiction to the automobile. Don’t fear, it’s not about how much I hate cars, and isn’t about forcing you to take the bus or ‘worse’ yet ride your bike. It is about understanding the history of our love affair with the automobile, and its true costs and consequences. Often forgotten or hidden away is that the rise of car culture has had devastating impacts on the built environment, the natural environment, and our society.
We’ll start off with a little trip down memory lane to see how we came to believe that the car is freedom. Then we’ll talk about two ridiculous crashes, and learn about distracted driving. Additionally, each week there will be the regular features of Dangerous Roads, Loosening Our Belt to Cure Obesity, and Tweet of the Week.
Freedom Brought to You by the American Auto Industry
U.S. automakers successfully sold the American public that access to an automobile is “freedom”, and that an automobile is an inalienable right, not a responsibility. For decades millions of dollars have been spent marketing this concept to us. It is so ingrained in our belief system that I’ve actually had friends tell me ‘my car is freedom’. Yes, marketing works. I’ve included just a two of the numerous examples where U.S. automakers have tied your freedom, to the car, sometimes quietly and other times they come right out and say it.
“Why be stuck with one expensive car when you can enjoy all the fun, and freedom of two Fords”, questions the speaker for Ford Motor company in this commercial from the 50′s.
This one from Dodge in 2010 continues the tradition while drawing a direct line from freedom, in fact the Revolution, to the automobile.
So don’t confuse by what we’ve been sold, a bill of goods, and what is actually true, freedom certainly doesn’t require a car.
You’d expect that crashing your car into a police car was a rare event, apparently not as this happened twice during the month of April in Wisconsin. I suppose crashing your car into a squad car is essentially the same as smashing into any regular citizen’s car, but talk about ‘distracted’ driving. Please folks, don’t drive into the flashing lights.
Put the Phone Down
Hundreds of students came together recently to learn about the dangers of texting and driving, and that’s a good lesson to learn. According to a recent Bridgestone study 53 percent of teens answered “I don’t believe I get too distracted while driving”, which if was actually true would be great but it’s more likely they are under reporting the truth, especially when considering that a third responded saying they read texts while driving. And it isn’t just teens that need to learn that distracted driving is distracted driving, all drivers need to understand that just about any activity and driving is usually a bad combination. Your focus, motor skills, and judgement can be impaired, and when you are wielding a 4,000 pound weapon against unarmored pedestrians and bicyclists that’s a problem. Let’s put the phone down as we can be dangerous to ourselves and others.
- Unlicensed driver charged in crash that killed Milwaukee boy
- Student struck by vehicle near Wadewitz Elementary School
- Germantown police find body in submerged vehicle
- Man seriously injured in crash; I-894 lanes closed
- CAUGHT ON CAM: Car drives through pizza shop
- 17-year-old arrested for OWI with minor passengers
- Two arrested over the weekend for fourth OWI in separate incidents
- 44-year-old Sturtevant woman arrested for sixth OWI
Loosening Our Belt to Cure Obesity
Tweet of the Week
Why is it that divorced men are more Iikely to meet their car payments than their child support obligations?
— ILLUMINATI (@ILLUMlNATI) April 23, 2012