Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Police Stops Don't Stop Car Crashes

High rates of traffic stops don't correlate with low crash rates, and low stops don't correlate with high crash rates. What traffic stops do correlate with is lots of murdered black people. So the claim that more policing improves safety is not only false, but backwards.

Ways to address the traffic stop problems:

* Ban traffic stop quotas.

* Ban police profit from traffic stops.

* Add penalties to police if racial disparities in traffic stops exceed 3-4% outside of area demographics.

* Separate traffic control (a civil issue) from police enforcement (intended for criminal issues). Traffic control employees should not be armed or permitted to use lethal force.

* Citizens should have control over police priorities, not have to nag them to deal with the crack house while cops are out harassing or murdering motorists. Thus citizens could lower the priority of traffic stops and reduce them accordingly because cops would be busy with more important and effective tasks.

* Citizens should have the power to set hiring and firing standards for police. Especially, they need the power to fire bad cops who rack up repeated complaints of harassment, racism, etc. or who commit a single major offense such as violence.

If police are paid for by local citizens, then citizens have hired them and have the right to boss them. If citizens are not in control of police, then police are an occupying force and citizens are entitled to resist.

Ways to address the crash problem not already listed in the sources:

Fatalities in car crashes correlate with the speed and mass of the vehicle. Therefore, effective strategies need to address these factors.

* Promote walkable, bikeable communities to reduce car dependency. Fewer car trips should mean fewer crashes. Working toward this is a good approach in older neighborhoods that predate suburban sprawl, but some aspects may work elsewhere as well.

* Some communities use golf carts for internal travel, reserving cars for external trips. The low speed and mass greatly reduces the chance of injury. The more basic needs (e.g. a grocery store, hair salon, community clinic) are available by golf cart, the more effective this approach is. This is easiest to implement in modern planned communities, but can be done as part of suburban improvement.

* To combat sprawl in suburbs already built, look for potential cores -- often there is a strip mall, apartment complex, etc. with open space around it where density could be increased and facilities added to promote low-speed travel. This would reduce the need for car trips and also start addressing the problem of unaffordable maintenance costs of sprawl.

* As much as possible, separate cars from other activities. Stroads are highly dangerous, unpleasant, and unprofitable. It is better to use low-speed travel locally and high-speed travel in dedicated lanes between farther destinations.

Mentioned in the source, a majority of car crashes occur on country roads. That comes down to factors like driver behavior and road design. Changing driver behavior would require redesigning society to make sure that, for instance, everyone gets enough sleep. It is unaffordable to fix all the country roads due to the size of that network, but we could certainly spot-treat the points that everyone knows have a reputation for eating people. Design an algorithm to identify which stretches of road have crashes disproportionate to their usage, and designate a fund for fixing them (or you could close them, if an alternate route is available).

Remember that car fatalities are a form of human sacrifice. Modern American society chooses to kill some people -- often quite a lot of people -- for the sake of fast travel. Not all societies make this choice; some feel that even one vehicular injury would be unbearable. So choices do exist, even if they are not reachable for everyone yet.
Tags: ethnic studies, news, safety

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