No, Phoenix area drivers are not ‘safe’

The news today was almost too much to bear.

You might recall the absurd story from a couple of weeks ago (the news story ran 8/6/2013) azcentral.com where an unlicensed(!) driver was driving a minivan full of kids; “The 16-year-old was driving his six brothers and sisters westbound on Southern Avenue when the minivan collided head-on with a passenger car. The van had attempted to pass a car on the right shoulder and overcorrected, sending the van into oncoming traffic, where it was hit by a sedan, witnesses said”.

Yes, it gets weirder, yesterday (8/29/2013)… I’ll just give you the headline, Phoenix police: Girl, 6, dies after brother, 8, drives car into pole.

And for good measure, today besides that shocker, there were all manner of Arizona automobile-mayhem stories: $50M claim filed in crash that killed Tucson boy; it involved an on-duty Pima County Sheriffs Deputy. 10-year-old Xavier Arturo Sanchez died July 15, 2013 when he was hit by a deputy. I don’t know anything other than to note that “Tucson police investigators decided against submitting the case to the county Attorney’s Office because they felt the circumstances didn’t warrant criminal charges against the deputy” except to say, they probably ought to do more to avoid the appearance of impropriety; though i suppose TPD is supposed to be independent of PSCO. (far higher on the impropriety scale: see this one, involving a speeding PCSO deputy)… … … Road Rage, oh this it always fun: a PCSO deputy was the victim of apparent road rage: “Pima County Sheriff’s officials say 38-year-old Eric Santos ‘deliberately rammed and pushed the officer’s vehicle’ Wednesday night on Interstate 10″… … oh and the usual mayhem, this one seems tame by comparison: “Impairment may be factor in (double)fatal crash” in a 1PM high-speed collision at 43rd Ave and Indian School.

Phoenix high for driver safety?

EVERY YEAR we get treated to this stupidity: Allstate study ranks metro Phoenix high for driver safety. The story appears to be ripped right from a press release. Supposedly metro Phoenix has “safe” drivers because the number of claims is low. I’m sure this is all statistically true — unfortunately it does NOT translate into safe traffic (which normal people measure in terms of deaths and injuries), here is a comparison from last year’s Allstate data. In short, other cities that have far “worse” drivers, according to Allstate, have far better traffic safety records. It would seem to me this indicates something it terribly wrong with Arizona’s transportation infrastructure; we have surface streets built for hi-speed/hi-volume first and safety last.

Are cars dangerous? We all know it’s not the cars per se; but obviously we’re not doing enough to control their use.