Low speed, no injury collision is headline news

A low speed fender-bender makes national news?

So I get it, the news is it is the Google autonomously driven car. But once again the news media fails to provide any context. Every day there are about 300 crashes in Arizona. This crash didn’t even occur in Arizona, yet it was literally front page news — appearing both on actual front page of the Arizona Republic, and the USA Today’s insert front page (the Arizona Republic is connected to the USA Today are both Gannett publication.  Each copy of the Arizona Republic includes a USA Today section). The story will undoubtedly run as national news on every news outlet; plus throughout much of the world.

The crash occurred in California, there are far more than 300 crashes a day there. Each day in US there are thousands of crashes.

USA Today Loves ‘Accidents’

The USA today story insists on accident, six times. The word crash doesn’t even appear, and collision is in the story once. Please, #crashnotaccident.

In Contrast

In sharp contrast to the google no-injury story — a few days ago an excellent article Why more than 1 million Americans have died in car crashes since 1990 by Ashley Halsey III appeared in the Washington Post. Oh, and not one mention of the a-word in the entire story. A couple of good quotes:

“There is a culture of indifference for far too many drivers when it comes to road safety,” said Peter Kissinger, the AAA foundation’s president…

“When you do something dangerous time and time again without any negative consequences, it’s easy to become conditioned to repeat that same behavior,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “That’s why strong laws and sustained, high-visibility enforcement are so critical.”

He also mentions, but not by name, the Lake Woebegon effect, where, humorously but implausibly, large majorities of drivers consider themselves above average:

Most drivers — 83 percent — say they drive more safely than other people on the road

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