Saturday, February 27, 2016

Autopia is deadly

The website Vox is a great resource for news junkies like myself. You can waste a whole Saturday browsing "card" sets explaining issues like the Flint Water Crisis  and the Hillary Clinton's email scandal. And the trivia you absorb not only helps for the cocktail event but can spark some profound thought.

Anyhow, the website's German Lopez wrote today about a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association inquiring why Americans, in the year 2012, had an average life expectancy 2.2 years less than that of their peers in other high-income industrial countries.

Lopez notes that the studied concluded that "guns, drugs and cars" were "three of the big drivers" for the gap.

Indeed, in the case of cars, the US' auto fatality rate per 100,000 persons was 15.60 people, more than three times the death rate in the other high-income countries studied.

 For all three factors, Lopez notes, cites weak or regressive government policies as a contributing factor. For cars, Lopez blames America's pursuit of policies that "encouraged sprawl and driving" even as European planners shifted towards a more multi-modal approach (that encouraged walking, cycling and public transportation) starting in the 1960s.

(Disclaimer: CityLab had a piece a few weeks ago specifically comparing transportation patterns in the US and Germany and the disparities are stark. I myself, having lived in a city of about 85,000 souls in Germany for a month can confirm that getting around by bus in a small city in Germany is easier than traveling by car in Los Angeles.)

Its not just the environment at stake, but lives.

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