Monday, January 09, 2006

What's in a number?

There were 25 murders in Reading this year, and a handful more in the rest of the county. A lot for a city of 85K, and a county of 400K. However, there were 79 traffic deaths in Berks County, 33 of them in Reading!!! The threat of cars is higher than the threat of people. Consider how many times one sees people out eating, shopping, working, etc. Compare that to the amount of cars we see on a daily basis, and I'd damn near say that everyone but homebodies see more people than cars on a daily basis. I'd be more surprised with these numbers if I didn't already know they had occurred in every previous year, with little to no play in the media. People don't CARE that traffic deaths are likely a result of simply too many cars, and bad drivers. Instead, they just want to see highways and roads 'get safer' by widening and expanding them, and laying down new roads. What I truly believe would bring REAL change to the roadways would be harsher testing and harsher penalties for running red lights, speeding, etc. Actual community service for first-time offenders, plus fines, and actual real testing. My testing was incredibly easy, and I don't even drive that much!
We can worry all we want about murders, and yes, they're a tragedy largely people's own fault. However, so are traffic deaths! Underinformed, undertested drivers going out on busier and busier roads, sometimes in an intoxicated state, make for a baaaaad experience. Possibly death.

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