Thursday, March 20, 2008

Are you sure you want your kids to drive?

What do you get when you combine the suburbs and cars. A heck of lot of green house emissions. Add a bunch of teenagers and you get heartbreak. According to University of Virginia researchers in this press release urban sprawl may be deadly for teenagers. The basic gist is that teens are more likely to be killed driving, and the more miles driven the greater the risk. Not exactly an earth shattering (no pun intended) revelation. But it's nice to have data. Another thing to ask is do teens have a choice given the way our communities are organized? Probably not. The researchers bring up a real world view to the problem that is summarized below:

"Certain teenage characteristics, like the tendency to take risks, are not going to change. This makes health behavior modification in this age group very difficult. However, our results suggest that changing the way we develop and use land in order to minimize our dependence on our vehicles could be an effective method of reducing the risk of serious injury or death among teen drivers in the United States," he (Dr. Matthew Trowbridge) added.


At 1:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently fewer kids are driving anyway.

None of us would need to drive at all if our communities were denser and public transit were better. I'm the guilty owner of a car, but honestly I'd be all too happy to give it up if my local transportation in city and between communities were reliable and convenient. I'd actually settle for in city, because I can rent a car when I leave the city if necessary, and it would still be cheaper than owning for how often I travel. Having a car is just another responsibility. Getting the oil changed, tires rotated, paying for your insurance, your payments, fuel, repairs. Grist also had a post on the number of hours Americans work to support their cars, and it's ridiculous. The first few hours at work are just for paying for one's vehicle. North Americans, for the most part, have built their lives and their cities and landscapes around these metal and plastic people movers, which are pathetically inefficient at transporting people. It's really bizarre when you start thinking about it.


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