Car Crashes Aren't Always Unavoidable - The Atlantic


81 bookmarks. First posted by kerim 8 days ago.


Hitting a pedestrian with a car is "the perfect crime". 😬

"The very fact that car crashes…
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2 hours ago by rainhead
The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives.
automobile 
yesterday by squires
As I detail in a forthcoming journal article, over the course of several generations lawmakers rewrote the rules of American life to conform to the interests of Big Oil, the auto barons, and the car-loving one-percenters of the Roaring Twenties. They gave legal force to a mindset
auto  urbanplanning  transportation 
yesterday by davesurgan
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
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3 days ago by theory
The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives.

In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My childhood neighbor was a varsity student-athlete, the president of the junior …
from:IFTTT  from:flipboard 
3 days ago by curiousstranger
"The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives."
linker 
4 days ago by antrix
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
4 days ago by trs
"Instead of merely accommodating some people’s desire to drive, our laws essentially force driving on all of us—by subsidizing it, by punishing people who don’t do it, by building a physical landscape that requires it, and by insulating reckless drivers from the consequences of their actions."
politics  transportation  law 
5 days ago by aparrish
It’s no secret that American public policy throughout the 20th century endorsed the car—for instance, by building a massive network of urban and interstate highways at public expense. Less well understood is how the legal framework governing American life enforces dependency on the automobile. To begin with, mundane road regulations embed automobile supremacy into federal, state, and local law. But inequities in traffic regulation are only the beginning. Land-use law, criminal law, torts, insurance, vehicle safety regulations, even the tax code—all these sources of law provide rewards to cooperate with what has become the dominant transport mode, and punishment for those who defy it.
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In a similar spirit, criminal law has carved out a lesser category uniquely for vehicular manslaughter. Deep down, all of us who drive are afraid of accidentally killing someone and going to jail; this lesser charge was originally envisioned to persuade juries to convict reckless drivers. Yet this accommodation reflects a pattern. Even when a motorist kills someone and is found to have been violating the law while doing so (for example, by running a red light), criminal charges are rarely brought and judges go light. So often do police officers in New York fail to enforce road-safety rules—and illegally park their own vehicles on sidewalks and bike facilities—that specific Twitter accounts are dedicated to each type of misbehavior. Given New York’s lax enforcement record, the Freakonomics podcast described running over pedestrians there as “the perfect crime.”
cars  car-culture  law 
5 days ago by tedder42
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
5 days ago by nbergus
"The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives."

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"Further entrenching automobile supremacy are laws that require landowners who build housing and office space to build housing for cars as well. In large part because of parking quotas, parking lots now cover more than a third of the land area of some U.S. cities; Houston is estimated to have 30 parking spaces for every resident. As the UCLA urban-planning professor Donald Shoup has written, this mismatch flows from legal mandates rather than market demand. Every employee who brings a car to the office essentially doubles the amount of space he takes up at work, and in urban areas his employer may be required by law to build him a $50,000 garage parking space.

For those who didn’t get the message from the sprawling landscape that zoning has created, the tax code sharpened it by lavishing rewards on those who drive and punishing those who don’t. On its own terms, the mortgage-interest tax deduction is neutral as to the type of home financed, but—given the twin constraints of zoning and mortgage lending—the deduction primarily subsidizes large houses in car-centric areas. Those who walk or bike to work receive no commuter tax benefit, while those who drive receive tax-deductible parking. Another provision of the tax code gives car buyers a tax rebate of up to $7,500 when their new vehicles are electric or hybrid; buyers of brand-new Audis, BMWs, and Jaguars can claim the full $7,500 from the American taxpayer. Environmentally, these vehicles offer an improvement over gas-powered cars (but not public or active transit). Even so, 85 to 90 percent of toxic vehicle emissions in traffic come from tire wear and other non-tailpipe sources, which electric and hybrid cars still produce. They also still contribute to traffic, and can still kill or maim the people they hit. Why are we taxing bus riders to pay rich people to buy McMansions and luxury electric SUVs?"

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Tort law is supposed to allow victims to recover for harms caused by others. Yet the standard of liability that applies to car crashes—ordinary negligence—establishes low expectations of how safe a driver must be. Courts have held that a higher standard—strict liability, which forces more careful risk taking—does not apply to driving. Strict liability is reserved for activities that are both “ultrahazardous” and “uncommon”; driving, while ultrahazardous, is among the most common activities in American life. In other words, the very fact that car crashes cause so much social damage makes it hard for those who are injured or killed by reckless drivers to receive justice.

In a similar spirit, criminal law has carved out a lesser category uniquely for vehicular manslaughter. Deep down, all of us who drive are afraid of accidentally killing someone and going to jail; this lesser charge was originally envisioned to persuade juries to convict reckless drivers. Yet this accommodation reflects a pattern. Even when a motorist kills someone and is found to have been violating the law while doing so (for example, by running a red light), criminal charges are rarely brought and judges go light. So often do police officers in New York fail to enforce road-safety rules—and illegally park their own vehicles on sidewalks and bike facilities—that specific Twitter accounts are dedicated to each type of misbehavior. Given New York’s lax enforcement record, the Freakonomics podcast described running over pedestrians there as “the perfect crime.”"

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"All of these laws can be reversed directly by the legislative bodies responsible for passing them in the first place. However, a growing body of academic research suggests that, even when most people favor less restrictive zoning, local officials will side with wealthy homeowners who favor the status quo. In these cases, state legislators can be called upon to help. Reformers have succeeded in doing so in Oregon and have shown promise in California. Far less attention has been paid, however, at the federal level. Recently, several Democratic candidates for president have released federal plans to prod states and cities to relax their zoning.

Congress could condition a small share (say, 5 percent) of federal funds on the adoption by states of housing-production goals or Vision Zero design standards calibrated for safety. Conditional appropriations, which are how Congress goaded states into raising the drinking age, are already in use for numerous transportation programs.

Litigation for dangerous street design is another promising way to hold public entities accountable. So far, plaintiffs have mostly sought money damages, but they can also seek design changes through injunctive relief, including by class action. This has the potential to move not only laws and budgets but the entire discourse around street safety.

Finally, reformers could seek recognition of the freedom to walk. The federal Americans With Disabilities Act and state and local counterparts, as well as case law recognizing a constitutional right to movement, suggest such a right to mobility.

Americans customarily describe motor-vehicle crashes as accidents. But the harms that come to so many of our loved ones are the predictable output of a broken system of laws. No struggle for justice in America has been successful without changing the law. The struggle against automobile supremacy is no different."
2019  cars  law  zoning  accidents  insurance  policy  government  taxes  publictransit  pedestrians  parking  cities  urban  urbanism  transportation  transit  speedlimits  california  us  design  safety  health  risks  tortlaw  negligence  oregon  housing  litigation  gregoryshill 
6 days ago by robertogreco
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
6 days ago by jrheard
The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives.
america  cars  car-dependent  regulations 
6 days ago by shreeshga
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
6 days ago by michaelfox
Cars took over because the legal system helped squeezed out alternatives via Instapaper https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/car-crashes-arent-always-unavoidable/592447/
IFTTT  Instapaper 
6 days ago by zhangtai
I detail in a forthcoming journal article
newswire  cars  law 
6 days ago by kejadlen
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
7 days ago by jrdodds
The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives.
Gregory H. Shill
Law professor
mobility 
7 days ago by zryb
The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives.
law  car  history  corruption  failure  Health  environment  cities 
7 days ago by basemaly
In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My childhood neighbor was a varsity student-athlete, the president of the junior class, and the most popular girl in school. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket  twitter 
7 days ago by sextopus
Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It

In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My childhood neighbor was a varsity student-athlete, the president of the junior class, and the most popular girl in school.
7 days ago by kalupa
Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It
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7 days ago by stateless
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
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7 days ago by rybesh
totally possible! check out this great piece from in today:
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7 days ago by jeffbyrnes
Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It by via The Atlantic https://ift.tt/2Lelvx8
IFTTT  NewsBlur 
7 days ago by acdha
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
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8 days ago by loganrhyne
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
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8 days ago by johnrclark
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
8 days ago by yudha87
"Let’s begin at the state and local levels. A key player in the story of automobile supremacy is single-family-only zoning, a shadow segregation regime that is now justifiably on the defensive for outlawing duplexes and apartments in huge swaths of the country. Through these and other land-use restrictions—laws that separate residential and commercial areas or require needlessly large yards—zoning rules scatter Americans across distances and highway-like roads that are impractical or dangerous to traverse on foot. The resulting densities are also too low to sustain high-frequency public transit."
car  transportation  law  zoning  city  planning 
8 days ago by pacpost
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
8 days ago by wahoo5
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
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8 days ago by aviflax
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
8 days ago by nimprojects
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
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8 days ago by divigation
In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My childhood neighbor was a varsity student-athlete, the president of the junior class, and the most popular girl in school.
article 
8 days ago by mud
Oh good grief — now the left wants to go after car owners.
from twitter
8 days ago by ewerickson
Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It via Instapaper https://ift.tt/2Lelvx8
IFTTT  Instapaper 
8 days ago by craniac
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
8 days ago by danbee
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
8 days ago by ree
American government at all levels crossed a line. Instead of merely accommodating some people’s desire to drive, our laws essentially force driving on all of us—by subsidizing it, by punishing people who don’t do it, by building a physical landscape that requires it, and by insulating reckless drivers from the consequences of their actions. To page through the law books today is to stumble again and again upon evidence of automobile supremacy. The range and depth of legal supports for driving is bewildering. But these laws, which are everywhere we look, are also opportunities.
USA  traffic  politics 
8 days ago by archangel
RT : I didn't drive until I was 35. This hits home for me.
from twitter
8 days ago by rossgrady
Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It
8 days ago by larnjee
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
8 days ago by stoleaglance
Automobile supremacy is baked into our cities and our culture and it kills.
cars  atlanticmonthly  zoning  via:meepsie  taxes 
8 days ago by UltraNurd
over the course of several generations lawmakers rewrote the rules of American life to conform to the interests of Big Oil, the auto barons, and the car-loving 1 percenters of the Roaring Twenties. They gave legal force to a mind-set—let’s call it automobile supremacy—that kills 40,000 Americans a year and seriously injures more than 4 million more. Include all those harmed by emissions and climate change, and the damage is even greater. As a teenager growing up in the shadow of Detroit, I had no reason to feel this was unjust, much less encouraged by law. It is both.
cars  driving  zoning  infrastructure  highways  pollution 
8 days ago by perich
Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It (via Instapaper)
IFTTT  Instapaper 
8 days ago by laze
cars are a death cult
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8 days ago by jtth
"[...] our laws essentially force driving on all of us—by subsidizing it, by punishing people who don’t do it, by building a physical landscape that requires it, and by insulating reckless drivers from the consequences of their actions."
us  cars  2019  from:atlantic 
8 days ago by mechazoidal
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
8 days ago by rboone
The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives.
8 days ago by mattparker
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
8 days ago by bferg
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
from instapaper
8 days ago by elivz
Americans Shouldn't Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It. Over the course of several generations, lawmakers rewrote the rules of American life to conform to the interests of Big Oil, the auto barons, and the car-loving 1%-ers of the Roaring Twenties.
from:Pinterest 
8 days ago by ursamajor
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My…
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8 days ago by kerim