Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The deadliest "weapon", and its not an M4 Bushmaster
Kinetic energy of a 4,000 lb car at 35 mph: 164,000 ft-lbs
Kinetic energy at the muzzle of a .223 cal, 62 grain full metal jacketed bullet at 3200 ft/sec: 1410 ft-lbs
Gun homicides per day: 23
Traffic deaths per day:89
(from Mark Plotz' post below)
I've been mulling over this comparison, and Mark Plotz at the National Center for Bicycling and Walking beat me to posting it, when he put up the note appended below on the NCBW e-newsletter. Deaths are deaths, and there are too many preventable ones happening due to carelessness, recklessness, criminal intent, and the lack of society upholding the requirement that a nation of free people demands the best in citizenship, not the lowest common denominator. We tend to focus on the unusual big catastrophe when a gunman shoots up a school, and ignore the constant, low level violence going on around us as 89 people die in traffic crashes every day, most of them easily preventable. --Khal
THE DEADLIEST WEAPON: NHTSA FATALITY & INJURY DATA
By Mark Plotz, Senior Associate / Program Manager
The National Center for Bicycling & Walking
Last week NHTSA released its injury/fatality numbers for 2011. The news is great... for those of us who travel ensconced in airbags, crumple zones, and fine Corinthian leather: there were 632 fewer deaths and 22k fewer injuries than in 2010. For the rest of us, the news isn't so good: 130 more pedestrians and 54 more bicyclists died on our roadways than in 2010. Our numbers amount to nearly 12 percent of all road deaths. Fewer drivers are dying and more pedestrians and cyclists are being killed.
32,367 killed and 2.2m injured for all modes
21,253 killed in passenger vehicles (cars and light trucks)
4,612 pedestrians killed and 69k injured
677 bicyclists killed and 48k injured"
What do these statistics mean? Those numbers work out to nearly 89 traffic deaths per day of which 14 are pedestrians or bicyclists. If that still seems too abstract, ask yourself whether a relative of yours has been injured or killed in/by a motor vehicle. Odds are the answer is yes.
As I did the math on the NHTSA numbers, I couldn't help but draw parallels with the shootings in Newtown, CT: firearm ownership and driving are treated as inalienable rights; because of the former characteristic, both are shockingly ease to access; and the carnage caused by each--23 gun homicides per day, and 89 road deaths per day--is thought of as the-cost-of-doing-business (with some exceptions). Yet, as I awoke this morning, the nation seems to be on the cusp of meaningful reform of gun laws and the NRA has gone dark.
I am left wondering: When will our Newtown reckoning arrive?
In the decade I have been in this business, I have watched the core mission of safety be subordinated to allegiance to funders, programs, and partners. It has happened to me; who can resist the seductive idea that more biking will save the world? As we grapple with how to ensure no more Newtowns happen, let us look at our work and remember that many of us became involved in advocacy because one too many #&%#@ drivers got too #&%#@ close when we were doing nothing more extraordinary than crossing the street or biking to work.
Walking and biking should be safe, convenient, and accessible for all.
Traffic Safety Resources
NHTSA's 2011 traffic safety statistics
FBI's violent crime statistics
Strong safety advocates
http://bit.ly/12yYghA [Ed. Note: click to close the donation page to see 'Vision Zero NYC: Zero deaths, zero injuries, zero fear of traffic' article]
America Walks resources
For enforcement ideas and resources (see right side)