A national conversation about the dangers of America’s car culture is long overdue. Over 32,000 people in the US are killed by motor vehicles every year, including thousands of children. The death toll has reached the point of crisis and it is time to act.
Until now, the powerful car lobby has prevented politicians from discussing common sense car restrictions. Manufacturers, dealers and the extremist American Automobile Association have used their money and clout to squash even the most reasonable restrictions on cars. Apparently money and greed are more important to these organizations than the need to save our children.
The car lobby would have you believe that cars are necessary to get from one place to another. They would have you believe that the majority of car-owners are law-abiding and responsible people. But the facts tell us otherwise.
In California alone, over sixteen million traffic tickets are issued each year. That is among about twenty-two million licensed drivers. On average, a majority of car-owners are not law-abiding citizens. And even those who are following the law are helping to make it possible for criminals to have access to cars. Again, looking only at California, roughly 200,000 motor vehicles are stolen each year.
What the AAA is unable to explain to the public is why any vehicle should be capable of reaching speeds in excess of the legal speed limit in most states of 55 miles per hour. The only purpose of a car with a V6 engine is to speed, break the law, and kill. There are now millions of military and racing-style vehicles on the road. Cars like the Corvette, the Mazda Miata, or the BMW 3 series which have no legitimate transportation purpose. SUVs such as the Humvee, Land Rover and Jeep, which are deliberate efforts to sell military-style off-road access. Many of these vehicles are capable of killing up to a dozen people in a single crash.
Certainly none of us want to completely ban all motor vehicles. Just enhance our regulation and ban the most dangerous cars on the market. The best way to do this is by passing legislation to enact a new assault vehicle ban.
The Assault Vehicle Ban would prevent sales or manufacture of vehicles that include the following deadly features:
- Automatic transmissions
- High-capacity gas tanks
- Engines capable of speeds exceeding 55 mph
- Dual-exhaust systems
- Hood scoops
- ‘Mag alloy’ wheels or rims
- High-tech navigation (targeting) systems
- Seating capacity capable of killing more than two passengers in a single crash
In addition to the Assault Vehicle Ban, Congress should act on several other common-sense provisions to keep our kids safe.
First, we should close the car show loophole. Currently it is possible for a criminal to attend a car show and purchase a car in a private sale from another car-owner without any background check whatsoever. Cash can be paid and another criminal drives away. We need background checks and waiting periods for all vehicle purchases.
Second, it is time to tighten up on gasoline sales. Age restrictions aren’t enough. Background checks and two-week waiting periods should be mandatory for all gasoline purchases. Its a simple fact: if a criminal or a mentally ill person can’t buy gas then he can’t kill anyone with his car.
Nobody is talking about ‘confiscating’ cars. Simply restricting who can possess them, preventing them from being bought or sold, limiting gasoline purchases, and implementing some common sense prohibitions on possessing them within a mile of schools, banks, churches, government buildings, or restaurants.
The ‘wild west’ days of transportation are long behind us. Nobody ‘needs’ a car. You could ride a bike, walk, or take a train or a subway. Surely that little bit of inconvenience to millions of people will be worthwhile. For the children.
Copyright 2013 by Jackson Landers. All rights reserved. Contact [email protected] for permission to reproduce for commercial use. Non-commercial use is permitted, with attribution.