…and the steel hits the flesh.
Mark Rosenberg, MD, representing the
href="http://www.researchamerica.org/pgr_society">Paul G. Rogers
Society for Global Health Research, had an opinion piece published
in the Boston Globe. He makes a good point about health. It
is not just doctors and hospitals. Urban design, and
infrastructure maintenance have a role to play.
…Most people think we are doing all that can be done to keep our
roads safe. They are wrong. Road traffic injuries kill more than a
million people a year worldwide, including 40,000 a year in the United
States. We will continue to have drivers who are too young or too old,
too distracted, or too bold, but we can change our roads so they help
protect both drivers and pedestrians…
He points out that rich, humanistically-oriented countries — such as
Sweden — spend money to save lives by preventing traffic
accidents. Also counties like Ghana. But the USA?
Not so much. We only spend money to save lives, if the threats
come from people whom it is convenient — and profitable — to hate.
(I’ve mentioned a few times that the global and perpetual war on
terrorism is dumb. We could save more lives, and a lot of money,
simply with tougher enforcement of traffic laws.)
Rosenberg is advocating an approach similar to that taken in Sweden,
with their Vision Zero program. (Strange name, seems to
imply the opposite of what you want while driving; perhaps it doesn’t
This campaign is not new. It was
in the Washington Post in 2007. It was discussed on href="http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/10/21/vision-zero-nyc-ending-the-body-count/">Streetsblog
Based on a zero tolerance attitude, Sweden has strategized
to eliminate all fatalities and serious injuries on its road transport
system by 2020…More than 250 New Yorkers are killed in
automobile-related crashes every year, and it’s not unusual for City
officials to tout these historically low numbers as evidence that they
are doing their jobs well, as if exchanging 250 lives is a reasonable
trade for mobility.
Oh, I guess that explains the strange name. But names aside,
think for a minute about what it means, that we are willing to trade
the lives of about ~ href="http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx">37,000
people, per year, for greater convenience in getting to McDonald’s.