In Adam Ruins Everything, host and investigative comedian Adam Conover embarks on a comically inventive yet unrelentingly serious quest to reveal the hidden truths behind everything you know and love. Tackling topics ranging from the workplace and voting to forensic science and security, he gives you not just fun facts to share with your friends, but information that will make you see the world in a whole new way. If knowledge is power, then Adam Conover will have you laughing all the way to the top.
In Season 8, episode 3 – Adam Ruins a Murder, Adam talks about our car driven culture in the first segment of this episode. It was captivating enough to capture this segment below. See the full episode, along with all Adam’s comedy here: https://www.trutv.com/shows/adam-ruins-everything/index.html#about.
In Our Car Driven Culture, It’s Basically Legal to Kill Someone with your Car.
In 2016, drivers in the U.S. killed over 6,800 pedestrians and cyclists, but most didn’t get as much as a speeding ticket. We only treat killing someone with your car as a crime if you were driving drunk, but 85% of those deaths were caused by sober drivers. When a driver is sober, law enforcement treats it like an accident, even if they were driving recklessly, not paying attention, or speeding.
In reality, drivers and cyclists break the law at about the same rate. In 2015, the rate of violating traffic laws was 8% for both drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. The difference is, when drivers break the law, their doing it in a giant murder machine. The facts show, that in vehicle crashes in cases like these, driving laws are almost never actually enforced, leaving pedestrians and cyclists completely unprotected.
In New York, driver mistakes were a factor in 70% of pedestrian deaths, but until 2017, drivers were only ticketed for less than 1% of crashes. In Los Angeles, even though pedestrian fatalities have gone up since 2016, only one analysis showed the city gave 81% of crosswalk violation tickets to walkers instead of drivers. Los Angeles is the most dangerous city for pedestrians in the country and they’re getting blamed for their own deaths.
Roads were originally designed for everyone. Cyclists and pedestrians have just as much a right to them as drivers. The point is, irresponsible, reckless drivers are killing people on the road instead of sharing it, and we hardly ever even give them a ticket.
Holding drivers accountable could help a ton. Look at drunk driving. In the early part of the 20th century, people didn’t think twice about driving drunk, and the car crash fatalities were routine. Once the public realized that drunk driving killed people, we started issuing harsher penalties, and driving fatalities went way down.
Alissa Walker, is an urbanism editor at Curbed, and a leading pedestrian advocate. Alissa says, “Ticketing drivers is a great first step, but it’s not good enough. In 2017, when New York City implemented better enforcement of its driving laws, pedestrian deaths did plummet to the lowest rate since the advent of the automobile, but the numbers were still quite high.”
People should also consider distracted driving and speeding just as socially unacceptable as drunk driving. At 20 miles per hour, you only have a 5% chance of killing a pedestrian. But at 40 miles per hour, that chance goes up to 85%.
Alissa goes on to say, “We can’t expect driver to get better on their own. We have to fundamentally change the way that we design our cities. That means lowering speed limits, shorter crosswalks with longer cross times, dedicated bus and bike lanes, and even making parts of our cities car-free. We also have got to stop calling these incidents accidents. Doing that just lets the driver off the hook. We’ve got tot call them what they are… crashes… to help introduce the possibility that the driver might be at fault.”
It is so important for drivers to take individual responsibility. You’re the one with all the power on the road because you’re the one driving a two-ton implement of death! You’re responsible for making sure it doesn’t kill anyone… period!