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Speed Kills

Updated on June 19, 2013
Image credit: rusak / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: rusak / 123RF Stock Photo | Source

exhaust pipes & stuff

This hub is based on an article in the Salt Lake Tribune. Is was written by Judy Fahys and appeared in the Wednesday, January 23rd edition. Its title, "Utah Emergency?" is underscored by the subtitle, "A gray area." It is addressed in part to the governor, Gary Herbert. Mention is made of some sixty doctors signing on to a document urging him to take various actions. Among them is the reduction of freeway speed limits. Is this for real? How should the ordinary citizen react? It is not nice to learn from this article and many others like it that our varying states of health have become another plaything for partisan-minded politicians. They love their Republican-Democrat game while we get worse and worse diagnoses. On this issue, few of our politicians, deeply if not humbly divided, are trustworthy. To put it plainly, probably no one in government cares about "the American people". Some want to look good by appearing conscious of the ecology, while others do likewise by supporting industry and employment. The latter have a point. Business is better dirty than non-existent.

The sad fact is, if we as a nation were educated, scientific, philanthropic, and modern as well, we could not be in such a mess. Air and water are basic to life. The article lists some of the dangers, going from minor irritations to diseases of the lung. Heart attacks and infanticide are also included in the larger picture. Partly to blame are oil refineries, but the really alarming factor has to do with automobile emissions. This is actually hard to believe. Utah is a big state, and like Wyoming, which boasts of exemplary air quality, is relatively unpopulated. True enough, they drive fast in Utah. But where do drivers as a group actually heed speed limits?

Will driving have to be seriously curtailed in the future? It has not been very long since the great inventors and industrialists of the past put us in automobiles. The automobile cultures that developed, not just here but all over the world, could not have been what any of these engineers or entrepreneurs had in mind. If cars are making us sick, what then? The rare individual who wants to do his or her part and switch to mass transit or rally a neighborhood into carpooling is not going to turn the tide. Most motorists will remain unaffected.

A first rate transportation system could conceivably be perfected. Planes, trains, and buses do not have to be as uncomfortable an experience as they sometimes are for many Americans. But nobody wants this. Car manufacturers could produce more environmentally friendly vehicles. The technology is available. But they need incentives. In reality, the problem has to worsen for anything effective or permanent to evolve. However, it is nice to know that the situation is being monitored -- for whatever reason.

It is a good thing to be healthy. Those who have lost their health are generally more appreciative of this than the healthy, who are apt to take health for granted and gamble carelessly on polluted air and contaminated water. But if Utah, of all places, is organizing against polluters, why are the other states not as aggressive? Or, then again, maybe they are. Clean air and water is a subject that plays hide and seek in the press, emerging every now and then, and then haplessly disappearing in equal proportion.

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