Comment 94842

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:35:02

One of the best books analysing car culture is "Carjacked" by Lutz and and Fernandez (an anthropologist and and an economist):

This book is available at HPL and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the culture of cars in the United States and Canada. The main theme is that the the benefits of driving are over-emphasized while the costs are de-emphasized or entirely invisible.

The term car culture is used because members of a culture often do not notice aspects of their culture, especially bizarre or damaging ones, that are obvious to outsiders (a fish doesn't know it is in water).

The most basic example of how we ignore or minimize the effects of automobiles are the costs ($14,000 per year for the average American) and injuries (37,313 deaths and 2.5 million injuries in the USA each year).

The deaths and injuries are seen as inevitable, like natural disasters, or the result of "accidents" . The courts tend to back up this interpretation since killing pedestrians almost never attracts serious penalties (usually just a modest fine) and defences like "I didn't see the red light" are routinely accepted. This is in contrast to other cases of homicide (such as hunting deaths or industrial deaths of workers) which are treated much more seriously.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-11-18 10:36:45

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