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The New York Times | Opinion | Grim Facts: Deaths Involving Cars

The New York Times | Opinion | Grim Facts: Deaths Involving Cars
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  LETTERS Grim Facts: Deaths Involving Cars Readers discuss the harm done in a driving culture. Oct. 13, 2019, 12:30 p.m. ET To the Editor: Re “Cars Really Are Death Machines” (Sunday Review, Oct. 6):Like Allison Arieff, I used to think that calling cars “death machines” was extreme, until I hit and killed a teenager one night 22 years ago, in a crash that was judged no-fault but that I continue to grieve deeply.Ms. Arieff doesn’t quote any drivers, but I want to speak up in support of the survivors and loved ones shefeatures, who decry a way of dying that permeates American life yet receives little attention.I’m concerned about mass shootings, which are receiving much-deserved attention. But I also know thatthere were at least 371 mass shooting deaths in 2018, while a low estimate of auto fatalities in 2018 is morethan 36,000.Like Ms. Arieff, I’ve noticed that these tragic numbers don’t seem to change minds. So, like her, I talkabout my personal experience.Whenever I can, I remind people that every time they get behind the wheel, they are entering a machinecapable of bringing death in an instant. I don’t want them to learn this the horrific way I did, an ordinarywoman driving home one ordinary night.Shane SnowdonCambridge, Mass. To the Editor: It is hard to imagine designing a transportation system that results in more death and injury, is worse forthe climate, undermines social trust and is more economically unsustainable than what we have now.Through unjustifiable policies like minimum parking requirements that are written into local land use andzoning codes and a transportation engineering profession that still largely sees the primary purpose of streets as moving cars unimpeded, we have socially engineered freedom, independence, opportunity andsafety out of our ordinary lives.Every time a neighborhood association or a local elected official balks at the repurposing of parking lanes,better transit, and bicycle and pedestrian access, they are essentially saying that the status quo is the bestwe can do.We have designed death and injury — to individuals, our planet and our budgets — into our transportationsystem, and it is time to design it out.  Marc SchlossbergEugene, Ore. The writer is a professor of city planning and co-director of the Sustainable Cities Institute at the Universityof Oregon. To the Editor: Whatever happened to the advice we all received as children? Look both ways before crossing the street.We weren’t taught to walk diagonally through intersections texting on cellphones.Is it really all about cars?David SuttonWest Orange, N.J.  A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 14, 2019, Section A, Page 26 of the New York edition with the headline: Grim Facts: Deaths Involving Cars
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