February 20, 2014

Economizing Deaths

An excellent article seen on one of my daily reads, White House Dossier, titled "Obama Will Ensure Global Warming Kills You".  The article includes a photo of a wrecked Smart car.  One that would make any normal person think twice about getting into one.

Having lived in Germany for several years, I saw more than one small economy car crumbled up in a ball on the autobahn.  To be fair, Smart wasn't and isn't the only 'micro-car', and was only one of several European favorites that we routinely saw decimated on the highway.  Europeans, for the most part, don't have the 'bigger is better' mentality that Americans do, especially in relation to automobiles.  Their streets and farm roads couldn't sustain them, their gas prices are atrocious, and, it is much more fun to zip down the autobahn in something small and quick, anyway.

The WHD article points to a 1999 USA Today review, "Death by the Gallon", about the number of American auto-related deaths that would have been survivable, had the wreck involved larger, heavier vehicles.
...in the 24 years since a landmark law to conserve fuel, big cars have shrunk to less-safe sizes and small cars have poured onto roads. As a result, 46,000 people have died in crashes they would have survived in bigger, heavier cars, according to USA TODAY's analysis of crash data since 1975, when the Energy Policy and Conservation Act was passed. The law and the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards it imposed have improved fuel efficiency. The average of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads is 20 miles per gallon vs. 14 mpg in 1975.
But the cost has been roughly 7,700 deaths for every mile per gallon gained, the analysis shows.
I wonder how dramatically that number has increased in the 15 years since the study?  Especially as the micro-car segment has entered the scene.  Sure, great strides have been made in vehicle safety features, but simple physics reigns supreme.  Our government has mandated fuel economy that can't be achieved without compromising safety.

One of Boom's friends drives a Smart car.  The family is quite proud of the car, they even have a personalized plate on it celebrating the fact that the car is one-quarter the size of an SUV.  Therein lies the rub.  When one-quarter of an SUV meets an actual SUV at highway speed, what outcome do they expect?

1 comment:

CenTexTim said...

Nothing smart about those tin cans on wheels...