Ignoring Highway Tragedies

One of America's worst public health situations is being totally ignored by not only the public but by our government. This public health tragedy is the annual loss of tens of thousands of lives on our nation's highways. The inaction is particularly striking because so many political leaders themselves have been touched by tragedies on our highways. The fathers of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were killed in car wrecks and it is well known that Vice President Joe Biden lost his first wife and an infant child in a truck/car collision. However for whatever reason, there seems to be wide indifference to the toll of more than 30,000 deaths and over 2.2 million injuries a year as a result of automotive accidents. In what seems a huge step backwards there appears to be a race by automotive manufacturers to add a growing array of info-entertainment features to our cars that greatly increase driver distraction. Further, Texas recently adopted an 85 mph speed limit for a soon to be open toll road which apparently is a move that is going to be copied by other states. For a number of years, mainly due to safer cars and the use of seat belts, the death toll and injury rates on our nation's highways have fallen substantially. Apparently this led to a great deal of compliancy on the part of our law makers and the public. However, in the first quarter of this year, there has been a dramatic upturn in deaths and injuries on our highways which certainly should signal our lawmakers that the US needs to be much more to curb the lethal violence on our highways.