How about highway’s toll? |

How about highway’s toll?

Vail Daily Editorial

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado COWe worry quite rightly about the mounting death toll in Iraq, over 3,000 U.S. troops in nearly five years. But America loses an entire Vietnam War’s worth of citizens every year in auto accidents. In 2005, that was 46,800 souls killed in crashes.So we lose around 50,000 people every year on our roads and highways, and what do we worry ourselves sick about? Another terrorist attack like 9/11, which killed 3,000.Nothing like that has happened since 2001, but the highway toll has rolled along, piling up deaths by the hundreds of thousands in that time.A dozen people get sick and die from eating bad spinach or peanut butter, and we have a national panic. But mothers who refuse to have their children vaccinated on the remotest chance of a side effect do not hesitate to strap junior in the back seat and drive. Getting in a car is the single most dangerous thing nearly all of us do in our lifetimes.We add to the risk by paying more attention to our cell phones than the road, neglecting too often to buckle up, drinking and driving, speeding and the current I-70 plague of tail-gating at 80 mph or higher, even during blizzards and with the roads coated in ice.Are we crazy or what?Driving can kill you, and others. It merits more respect, never mind focus, than too many of us are giving the task.As you answer the cell, step on the gas, slide up right behind the car ahead, race for every little opening to pass, or weigh whether you can hold another drink before heading home, consider this: Is it worth your life?Sure, you’ll get away with it hundreds of times or more. But it only takes once. Once, when you could have saved yourself with a deep breath and a rational answer to a simple question.- Don Rogers, for the editorial board

Support Local Journalism