Cars, Death and the Road Ahead

I love cars. The thrill, the power, the freedom and promise of an open road. I love Ayrton Senna and Mario Andretti and the great drivers. I love our heroic enthusiasts like Steve McQueen, James Dean, Paul Newman and am thinking about Paul Walker today.

I think most Americans love cars. Despite the traffic. The smog. The road rage. In America General Motors used to be synonymous with the American dream. It's hard to imagine a world without them. They're as natural as breathing. Or so we believe...

The truth is 120 years ago there were none at all. Imagine that. Then in the flash of an eye we terraformed the whole planet to accommodate the self-driven automobile. Today's society practically demands you have one. From 0 to 255 million registered passenger vehicles in the U.S. in 100 years. These days some people have nicer cars than homes. Makes sense. You can't drive your house to work. But what are the consequences...

The facts are staggering:

Over 6 million car accidents per year. 
Over 3 million people seriously injured per year.
Over 2 million of these injuries are permanent.
Between 30,000 to 40,000 people die in an accident every year.

For kids between 15 to 24, the leading cause of death is car accident. That's just the USA.

Global total: 1.24 MILLION people killed every year by cars. Imagine any other product with that failure rate. 

But we're brainwashed into believing it's natural, normal and a worthwhile price for auto-mobile freedom. 

We don't think this way by accident. It's the result of decades of powerful marketing savvy.

Despite what car commercials and slick leather interiors might have us feeling -- the reality is self-driven cars are 4,000 pound weapons of mass destruction -- far more life threatening than what the TV news tells us to fear. Don't forget who pays their bills. $3.1 billion a year is GMs ad budget alone. They wouldn't spend it if it didn't work. Nor would they give that money to a news network that started telling it like it is.

In another 120 years we will look back with shock at how we were duped by the auto and oil industries -- despite the massive threat to our lives, our bodies, our city planning, our environment both aesthetically AND ecologically... the resulting dependence on fossil fuels and the global wars over oil. 

Fossil fuel corporations are where they are today not because of simple corruption, but because of the reign of this cars-first transportation policy.

And while there are great race car drivers, designers and artisans -- I would certainly call them artists and some heroes... let's not pretend self driven cars are safe or sound or a worthy product to redesign humanity around. This is a blip of madness in between eras.

For those who knew Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas, I extend my deepest condolences. This is a time for private retrospection between family and loved ones. And to all those who've lost their lives in traffic accidents this year we send our love and prayers.

For those who didn't know Paul perhaps hearing this terrible news can help wake us up to the madness -- this temporary disaster in global transportation.

Some won't be able to get past the brainwashing of companies like GM and their mainstream media outlets. That's okay. For the rest of us, we're conscious that radical change is needed across the spectrum. So let's go ahead...

I invite you today to join me in my vow: I will not drink and drive. I will not text and drive. And I will not drive recklessly or with anger.

I will spread the word that it's time for the next transportation revolution. I will rally behind innovative green powered mass transit systems. Google self-driving cars is a very promising first step. I will support the heroes working for safer ways to transport our families and children that are in genuine service to our safety, our city planning and our quality of life.

The thrill, the power, the freedom and promise of the open road ahead where self-driven cars are a thing of the past inspires me to no end.