September 8, 2022

A Bad Idea That Sounds Like a Good Idea

Let’s make safer roads compulsory.

We don’t really need to change the law.  Just give unlimited resources and lots of land to the road designers.  Their record is really good:

Road deaths for mile travelled have crashed since the mass adoption of the automobile and with the building of ever-safer roads.

The best ones look like this:

 

To understand why we built car dependence on the scale we did, know that road builders have been using safety as a justification for Motordom for over a century.  After all, lives depended on it.

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  1. In most instances, it’s not the roads that are safer. They’re mostly the same ones we’ve been driving on for 100 years. It’s the cars that are safer. Seatbelts, airbags, anti-lock brakes, and chassis designed to absorb impact force are primarily responsible for those figures. A lot less drunk driving, too.

    That said, though, I don’t understand what making “unsafe” streets illegal would even mean. You’d have to set some arbitrary metric of “unsafety” above some other arbitrary threshold of tolerance. And nobody has ever intentionally designed or built a road they thought was unsafe.

    “There oughtta be a law” is a common and understandable reaction to any distasteful situation. In this case, it’s not only unnecessary but legally infeasible. Moving cars are inherently unsafe. Just design roads to slower and narrower so drivers don’t kill and maim so many of us.

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