Car Culture Puts Pedestrians in Danger According to Report
USA- Journalism played a large role in developing car culture in the United States, according to USA.STREETSBLOG.ORG. News outlets did not always write in a way that helped the automotive industry, but over the years, journalists began to write in a way that promoted automobile-based transportation. This different way of thinking assumed that a certain number of casualties were inevitable on our roadways.*
When cars first entered American culture, many people were concerned about the dangers they presented to pedestrians. Rather than using the term “jaywalking,” drivers who were dangerous to others on the road were criticized through the use of the derogatory term “jay-drivers.” In 1905 the term jay-drivers was used in an op-ed regarding the risks presented by irresponsible motorists. The term “jay-walking” was not used until about a decade later.
Many articles were first published regarding the rights of pedestrians and the need to regulate automobiles to keep foot traffic safe. The car industry recognized the possibility that cars could become stigmatized by fear and that this would impact vehicle sales. The industry introduced new words to ridicule drivers and to create a distinction between good and responsible motorists and ones who put others at risk. The idea was to prevent the car from being thought of as dangerous.
As far back as 1923, people were working to reduce the speed of cars to 25 miles per hour in an effort to prevent deadly pedestrian crashes. Today, there is a movement to stop viewing pedestrian crashes as inevitable and to instead, start viewing each crash as a tragic failure to safety. Still, when it comes to language, journalists often use words such as “accidents,” and pedestrians are often blamed for their own injuries and sometimes even deaths. With pedestrian deaths reaching a 30-year-high, its time for a change to save lives.
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Sources:https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/03/05/streetsblog-101-how-journalists-help-build-car-culture/ and https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/27/health/pedestrian-fatalties-rise-trnd/index.html