I love cars. I love Ayrton Senna and Mario Andretti and the great drivers. I love our heroic enthusiasts like Steve McQueen, James Dean, Paul Newman and was thinking about Paul Walker today.
I think most Americans love cars. Despite the traffic. The smog. The road rage. In America General Motors used to be synonymous with the American dream. It’s hard to imagine a world without them. They’re as natural as breathing. Or so we believe…
The truth is 120 years ago there were none at all. Imagine that. Then in the flash of an eye we terraformed the whole planet to accommodate the self-driven automobile. Today’s society practically demands you have one.
There are 255 million registered passenger vehicles in the United States alone. Many people have nicer cars than homes. Makes sense. You can’t drive your house to work. But what are the consequences…
In the USA alone, the facts are staggering:
Over 6 million car accidents per year.
Over 3 million people seriously injured per year.
Over 2 million of these injuries are permanent.
Over 30,000 people die per year.
For kids between 15 to 24, the leading cause of death is by car accident.
Global total: 1.24 MILLION people killed every year by cars. Imagine any other product with that failure rate.
But we’re brainwashed into believing it’s natural, normal and a worthwhile price for auto-mobile freedom.
We don’t think this way by accident. It’s the result of decades of powerful marketing savvy. Fossil fuel corporations are where they are today not because of simple corruption, but because of the reign of this cars-first transportation policy.
In another 120 years we will look back with shock at how we were duped by the auto and oil industries — despite the damage to our health, our safety, our city planning, our environment aesthetically AND ecologically… the resulting dependence on fossil fuels and the global wars over oil.
And while there are great race car drivers and artisans — I would certainly call them artists… let’s not pretend self driven cars are safe or sound or a worthy product to redesign humanity around. This is a blip of madness between eras.
So while we slowly wake up to the insanity and wait for Tesla electric and Google self-driving cars to create a revolution for us — please drive SAFE. Never drink and drive. Never text and drive. And never drive recklessly. Self driven cars are far more life threatening for Americans than foreign terrorism by a long shot.
Final note. In memory of Paul Walker. One of my two “Hollywood regrets” is we never made the sequel to “Falcon and the Snowman” together. I was honored you liked my script. That gave me the confidence to keep working in “the business” at a time I was feeling tremendous doubt.
Blessings on you and your family. I do believe you lived a fantastic life. You were and are loved and admired. Prayers for you on your journey forth brother.
One of my favorite Paul Walker films:
FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS