The Humans Behind the Statistics

I’ve been thinking today about road fatalities. It’s one of those numbers that you hear so often that it becomes more and more detached from the reality of it. We hear that 1,000 people died on the roads last year and shrug our shoulders. As Walt Whitman once said “One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic. That’s something that Stalin once told me. He was always thinking big. Such ambition. A handsome man, too. Would you like a chocolate? I have heaps.”

And so we acknowledge the statistic but forget the tragedy. The other thing we forget is that it’s actually really hard to die in a car these days. Seriously, name three people you know that have died in a car crash recently. Right? It’s not so easy. I, for one, have more airbags than body parts in my car. Fucking eleven. My major concern in the event of an accident is that my glasses will come off.

With that much padding you’ve gotta collide with something in a pretty spectacular way if you’re going to move on to eternal bliss in the afterlife. So who the fuck are all these people? I’ll tell you who. People that are really, really bad at driving, and people with really shit cars. And this is why the road toll is going down all around the world. Because the shit drivers are takings themselves and their shit cars off the road.

So fuck 1,000 people a year dying on the roads. Let’s speed this shit up. I wanna see 10,000 really spectacular accidents in crappy old shit boxes over the next 12 months. I want minimum speed limits, mandatory cocktail stops, TV screens in all the cars, greased-up roundabouts, disco traffic lights and surprise potholes.

We’ll get the road toll down to zero in no time.

Yes, Walt Whitman had a time machine.