Life Involves Taking Chances

The World Health Organization informs us that 1.25 million people are killed on our highways each year.  That would average um … about one person killed on a highway every 25 seconds.  One third of these people are pedestrians or cyclists.  Over 70% of these deaths occur in the so-called middle income countries.

Traffic Fatality TreeGlobally, the risk of traffic related death is measured by the number of fatalities per 100,000 in population.  It was no surprise to find the highest number of fatalities in African and Eastern Mediterranean countries. Although I did imagine fatalities would be higher in Italy where anyone getting on a Vespa is just asking for it.

Now, if we were trying to understand so many deaths, then one reason could be that only 7% of the world’s countries have adequate traffic laws, but I also imagine that it might be hard to find a safe driver who is also illiterate.  We may be able to keep morons from operating motor vehicles, but I’m not so sure there is much we can do about simpletons who walk rather erratically along our roadways.

Next up, the number of deaths that result from toxic air.  The World Health Organization tells us that 7 million people die each year from breathing polluted air.  The number of pollutant-related deaths in the United Kingdom, by comparison, is 40,000 annually.

Toxic AirDr. Frank Kelly (King’s College, London) suggests that if we are worried about air toxicity, then we should probably stop clamoring about converting to electric vehicles: it won’t help, he said.  True, electric vehicles produce no exhaust fumes, but that’s not what is killing us.  What IS killing us are minuscule particles from brake and tire dust … from which there is no acceptable safe limit.  (Note: Tony Blair’s cabinet convinced many Britons to convert to diesel engines, since, he told them, diesel fuel is ecologically safer.  It was an unfathomable proposition, but many people bought into it.  Now the government has taken the opposite stance and anyone in the UK driving a diesel-powered vehicle is either precluded from entering a city, or taxed into oblivion for owning one.  Still, what Kelly suggests is fewer cars inside our cities, period.  This may not be a bad idea if you’ve ever attempted to find a parking place inside any British city.

By the way … one commission reported that HALF of all particulate matter comes from brakes and tire dust, but I feel we need to have some perspective here: given a world population of 7.5 billion souls, less than 10% of the population dies from air pollution.  In the United Kingdom, experts tell us 40,000 people die each year due to toxic substances in the air … or, .04% of the population.

I could personally embrace Dr. Kelly’s suggestion, if for no other reason than finding a parking place inside British cities is far too difficult.  Yes, the park and ride schemes here are much simpler to deal with, but even that won’t have much of a life-savings impact.  Buses propelled by natural gas still produce brake and tire dust; if all automobiles are banned from inside the city limits, the number of buses may double or triple.

It’s a zero-sum game.

No, what we must do to save lives is develop vehicles that can levitate—you know, like in the Jetson’s.  Well, either that, or we’ll have to accept the notion that no one lives forever.  In life, we all take our chances.

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28 Responses to Life Involves Taking Chances

  1. John M. Berger says:

    I wonder what % of these accidents involve “Smart Phone Zombies”?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mustang says:
      My guess would depend on region. I can’t imagine that many Africans have iPhones, but the statistics may be misleading. For example, the source I consulted stated: every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way. More than 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries.

      Personally, I think this is a stretch. Yes, accidents result from distracted drivers, but listening to extremely loud rap is as much as a distraction as texting. I simply do not know how (or whether) this data is vetted.

      Like

  2. Kid says:

    I’d have thought Russia had the higher numbers of fatalities. They seem to drive very fast with eyes closed and even faster on snow and ice. Pedestrians never look both ways, and cyclists and motorcyclists are intent on suicide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mustang says:

      Russia’s statistics are these: traffic fatalities by 100,000 of population is 18.4. Traffic fatalities by 100.00 motor vehicles is 53.4. Significant, but the Africans have them beat.

      Like

    • Ed Bonderenka says:

      I get the impression that having a dash cam increases the odds of your being in or in close proximity to an accident.

      Like

    • Kid says:

      Ed, Because of the massive insurance fraud in Russia, Dash Cams are required.

      Like

  3. Kid says:

    That vid is pretty tame compared to many others which include lots of cycles, pedestrians, motorcyclists and head on’s. Seems when they want to pass, nothing will deter them. Lot of high speed runs through red lights too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. geeez2014 says:

    Mustang, the motorcycles in Rome alone would create this many accidents, as you suggested! I had a cab driver once speed up to get between two buses going in opposite directions…we squeezed through, Mr and Mrs Z totally white knuckled in the back; It was so awful I remember thinking “Well, we all have to die sometime but I didn’t think it’d be here”

    They do NOT include deaths from air in those stats, DO they? I don’t believe the stat by the way; that has to be WAY on the high side.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mustang says:

      I obtained the statistics from the World Health Organization, so you could be right. Should we believe anything they tell us? Still, you have to start somewhere … 🙂

      Like

  5. John M. Berger says:

    “Traffic fatalities by 100.00 motor vehicles is 53.4. Significant, but the Africans have them beat.”

    OMG, I never knew that they (Africans) even/ever had cars. Grab a cab here in Denver and get ready for a (PC) ride that you may never forget!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mustang says:
      Very strange place, Africa.

      As I said earlier, these statistics come from the World Health Organization. They seem straight-forward to me, but as Kid often tells me, 98% of all his statistics are made up on the spot.

      The number of traffic fatalities per 100,000 automobiles in Russia is about 53,900 annually, whereas the total number of traffic fatalities in Africa (grouping together all African countries) is just under 250,000 (annually).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ed Bonderenka says:

      “98% of all his statistics are made up on the spot”.
      Is that one of them?

      Like

    • Mustang says:

      @ Ed … Exactly!

      Like

  6. Kid says:

    Mustang, that can’t be right. That would be one in every 2 drivers. Your 53.4 # must have been right.

    Like

    • Mustang says:
      Let me clarify this.

      There were two statistics presented. The number of road fatalities per 100.000 of population, and the number of traffic deaths per 100,000 of motor vehicles. In Russia, the number of traffic deaths per 100,000 in population is 18.4. The number of traffic deaths per 100,000 of motor vehicles is 53.4. Now extrapolate … there are 42,192,000 motor vehicles in Russia. According to Worldometers (on line), there are 143,376,006 people living in Russia today. So then, 30% of the Russian people have motor vehicles, and of those, about 50,000 are gob-smacked by other drivers each year.

      By comparison, in the United States, the number of traffic deaths per 100,000 in population is 10.6. The number of traffic deaths per 100,000 of motor vehicles is 12.9. There are 255,837,000 motor vehicles in the United States, and, again according to Worldometers, there are 326,474,013 people living in the USA. Our traffic deaths each year hovers between 35,000 and 40,000.

      Given the above, I feel certain that we can make this even more confusing if we try hard enough. 🙂

      Like

    • Kid says:

      Sounds right.

      Like

  7. Brake dust, huh? Maybe that explains why I keep seeing litigation-attorney ads for obtaining compensation for death or disability caused by mesothelioma.

    Like

    • Kid says:

      AOW, They are using a lot of alternate materials now. Ceramic and other materials for disk brakes. Drum brake dust is not something you want I would likely agree. Good point on giving the vampires another avenue to steal our money in court.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mustang says:

      I keep hoping for the levitation idea. To me, it looks like it would be GREAT fun to zip around a few inches above ground. And look at the money we’d save not having to fill in pot holes, or buy new tires, or treat diseases born of brake-dust.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. John M. Berger says:

    @AOW,

    “I keep seeing litigation-attorney ads for obtaining compensation for death or disability caused by mesothelioma.”

    I believe that “$30,000,000,000 trust fund” that they keep advertising has been around for years and years when I was involved in industrial safety and workers’ compensation. My question is: why is it still $30,000,000,000?

    Like

  9. Mustang says:

    @ John

    I keep thinking that litigation was much more expedient, efficient, and satisfying when we met our adversary on the streets, at high noon. We sure as hell didn’t need as many lawyers back then, did we? The truth is, I was rooting for Liberty Valance.

    Like

    • Mustang,
      My father (1911-1998) often decried the outlawing of the duel. He often said, “Some people deserve to be called out.” And Dad didn’t mean what we often hear today by “call out,” which is merely verbal.

      Like

    • Mustang says:

      You father and I are in complete agreement. I also favor summary executions in some cases … because some folks cannot or will not be rehabilitated.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Kid says:

    I meant to post this earlier.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. bunkerville says:

    This gives a whole new point of view on Opioid related deaths..small potatoes apparently compared to the other various causes of death. I would take the Opioid

    Liked by 2 people

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