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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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GM is trying to make their vehicles safer by making “cry for help” and “computer thinks so you don’t have to” features standard on all of their vehicles. Personally, I wish somebody would just step up and stop building the SUV — at some point responsibility needs to override profits (I know, this will never happen) — SUVs are a danger to their occupants, and a danger to other folks on the road. After that we can address the fact that even beyond vehicles being dangerous, drivers should be trained to more stringent standards in order to enforce safety, rather than trusting in computers to sort everything out. Don’t get me wrong, these features are a welcome addition … and for the schmuck who plants his corvette into concrete at 70 mph by braking in a mid-corner adjustment after entering a corner too hot, it’s probably going to save a few lives, but something always rubs me the wrong way about building driver aides that compensate for people making mistakes, rather than trying to combat the mistakes in the first place.

Luckily, I’m not alone in my hate of the SUV. Well, it’s not as black and white as that; apparently the government is trying to promote SUV safety by discussing proper loading, safe speeds, and tire inflation. Fat chance that’s going to work for the guy with 28" spinners and stock brakes running down the interstate at 95 mph. I predict this will be as effective as telling teens that drugs are dangerous and illegal. How about we just ban the damn things? If only it were Darwinian … if only it would just kill people that bought the damn things, but they are such a danger to the rest of us, and it’s all due to the illusion of safety the tissue boxes of death create. It’s just a matter of time before the SUV is a bigger danger than drunk driving. While SUVs are to blame for about 10% of highway deaths right now, and DUI is about 40%, let me remind you of the truth:

SUV deaths increased 10 percent to 4,446, with rollovers linked to 59 percent of all SUV fatalities. Even so, Joan Williams-Cash of Southfield said she feels “safe in my SUV.”

That’s because she’s an idiot, and does not realize that any minivan on the market is safer, and that sedans are safer yet.

“I feel better being a little more off the ground. When I’m driving anything else any more, I feel like I’m dragging the ground,” she said.

The feeling of safety does not safety make. See “she’s an idiot” above.

Rollover deaths in passenger cars fell 7.5 percent and in pickup trucks 6.8 percent, but they rose 3.6 percent in vans and 6.8 percent in SUVs.

These numbers don’t lie.

Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook said the death rate has gone down steadily for 60 years, but the raw number of deaths has remained about the same since 1995.

“The reason they haven’t gone down — even with the advent of air bags is an increase in SUVs and increase in rollovers,” she said.

I know, I know, I’m on an anti-SUV rant, and it makes about as much sense as my anti-Bush rants… I know the “big car, safe car, high viewpoint, safe driver” thing is a big part of being American. If it wasn’t for the gas crisis, we’d all be driving boats to this day, but let’s just face the facts on this one. Kill the SUV!