Dying for Cheaper Gas

Bias Alert: I hate cars.

Okay, not in actual practice. In fact, I love the experience of driving down the freeway, humming a tune, chin-bobbing along to the music with my daughters. Some of life’s most profound, intimate conversations only take place when you’re strapped next to someone, facing front.

So then why do I hate cars? See, there’s just this teensy weensy public health…well, let’s not call it a problem, let’s call it a glitch. When Eisenhower was building the nation’s interstate freeway system, he kind of lied. He should have, during at least one State of the Union Address, said, “here’s the deal – we’ll build a transportation system that’s the envy of the world. We’ll transform lives, businesses, families and the entire economy. There’s only one catch – every month, and at least once extra for each major holiday, there will be a lottery. If you get stuck with a losing number, we’re going to send troops into your home, drag you out by the hair, and shoot you. We’re thinking…oh, let’s see…50,000 people a year? That sound good?”

When it comes to relative risk, we Americans have been lulled into forgetting that we enter a mega-lethal killing zone every time we turn the ignition (we’ll just gloss over the numbers of mangled, still-living bodies, shall we?). Try some of these chilling numbers on for size: 35,547 children aged <15 years died in motor-vehicle crashes during 1985-96.

Here’s how extreme it is – over 10,000 people (about 1,000 a month) will probably not die, just because gas costs so much more. Bottom line: BUCKLE UP.

Second bottom line: I like my readers – so please don’t ride a donor-cycle. No human body was meant to be a 40 mile-per-hour-projectile. Don’t believe me? Come spend a shift in the ER…

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