Monday, August 08, 2005


Stalin would be proud

The older I get, the more I realize that a significant number of my fellow journalists are totalitarian elitists, which never ceases to horrify me. Behold:
"Motorcycles weave aggressively through traffic. SUVs push the limits of the roadway, breaching medians into oncoming traffic. High-throttle cars race down the freeway. While some drivers continue to make the nation's highways into hazard zones, the numbers show that our roads are actually safer than they've ever been. Safety precautions - considered by some to be nuisances or even an infringement of rights - are actually working. Giving up a little bit of freedom to enhance safety really can be a good tradeoff [emphasis mine]".
Benjamin Franklin said it best, folks: Anyone who is willing to give up essential liberties for a little security, deserves neither. Stalin would've been proud of the author. After all, the position that individual rights and liberties are optional is fundamentally evil at its core.

The more fatal flaw in the above quote, however, lies in the amalgamation of speed limit violations and poor lane discipline as equal contributors to the so-called "hazard zones" the author attempts so dramatically to describe. The fact of the matter is that speed enforcement, especially on rural roads and highways, has been unarguably shown to increase the accident rate. Speed doesn't kill. Poor lane discipline, lack of skill, and driver inattention do.
"Even as roads have become more congested nationwide, the fatality rate for motor vehicle crashes dropped 0.6 percent last year, according to the federal Department of Transportation. At just 1.46 deaths for every 100 million miles of travel, 2004's was the lowest death rate recorded in the 30 years such data have been kept. The improvement was attributed to safer vehicles, stricter laws and a drop in alcohol-related accidents."
In what order, at what percentage, and in which areas of enforcement? Furthermore, who is this position on safety improvement attributed to? One of the biggest red flags signalling possible yellow journalism is failure of the author to attribute facts and quotes to specific sources. The reader should be especially wary of such tactics when reading editorial articles written by apparent Marxists.
"Some may argue that the state has no place forcing drivers to take safety precautions. The motorcycle helmet law continues to draw ire among bikers who want to take responsibility for their own lives. But the problem is that the burden of preventable injuries falls on everyone. Accidents and injuries put upward pressure on insurance and health-care rates, which hit us all."
100-percent, totally false. According to McGregor Interests, a leading investment and economics firm, insurance companies are big supporters of helmet laws, often citing the "public burden" argument. The assertion is that reckless bikers without helmets are raising everyone's car insurance rates by running headlong into plate-glass windows and the like, sustaining expensive head injuries.  While it is true that bikers indirectly jack up the rates of car drivers, it's not for the reason you might think. You see, car drivers plow over bikers at an alarming rate. According to the Second International Congress on Automobile Safety, the car driver is at fault in more than 70 percent of all car/motorcycle collisions. In such cases, juries tend to award substantial damages to the injured biker. The result: Car insurance premiums go up.

The only thing worse than an uninformed journalist is a stupid, uninformed journalist. Were I to wager on this subject, I'd say that improved highway safety is directly related to improvements in auto design and better driver education. Restrictive laws regulating helmet use, seat belts, and speed limits are good for little more than generating revenue, and are certainly no justification for the infringement of personal liberties. But so long as nucklehead journalists like the one quoted in this post are given a voice, it is likely that such misinformation and bad laws will continue to be authored.

For more nonsense, read the whole thing here.


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