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Monday, August 29, 2011
Two stories that came to my attention recently:
David Weber’s wife had complications during the birth of their first child, so when contractions started at week 38 of her second pregnancy, he wanted to get his wife to the hospital as quickly as possible for a c-section, and so he drove fast, hitting 170 km/h on "lightly trafficked roads" near their home in Manitoba. This got David a $1,000 fine and a licence suspension.
Whether he was right or wrong is another matter, but what got me was that most commentators mentioned that this was really, really fast driving.
Second story is from a friend of mine who recently returned from a trip to Europe. He rented a car (Mazda 5 type compact minivan with a 2.0L turbo diesel engine) in Frankfurt, Germany, packed his family in the back, set the cruise control on 160 km/h and set off for Germany’s eastern border, making the 600 km trek in just a few hours, never fearing for anybody’s safety.
Are we that different than them? Are they smarter? I don’t think so. Now, before you Fantino and Ontario Safety League safety Nazi types attack with the “Ontario has the lowest number of accidents per capita of any jurisdiction in North America” nonsense, pay attention to facts:
In Canada 9.2 people per 100,000 inhabitants die in car accidents every year. In Germany: 4.5.
The statistics are even worse for Canada once you factor in the number of kilometers driven and the use of limited access highways.
There were 2.2 road user fatalities per billion vehicle kilometers on German autobahns in 2008. Using the same statistic, 4.5 fatalities have occurred in the United States on motorways.
The cops, the government and insurance companies are all over us for speeding and make our highways even more dangerous by not addressing more important traffic problems.