Anorak News | Risking It All

Risking It All

by | 23rd, June 2006

WITH Saddam Hussein behind bars, Victoria Beckham no longer making music and Anthea Turner banished to satellite TV the papers target a new enemy.

The Independent’s front page spots its target. “Enemy of the planet,” says the headline. “Gas-guzzling, air-polluting, road-hogging and now even doctors have joined the outcry over 4×4 cars.”

Yes, the only thing standing between humanity and peace on planet Earth is a customised van with leather seats, SatNav and a woman behind the wheel who will do whatever it takes to get her little Armani to school in one piece.

The paper is keen to point out that the cars are a danger to the planet at large. According to a group calling itself Alliance Against Urban 4x4s, “Driving a 13mpg 4×4 rather than a 25mpg car for a year will waste more energy than leaving the fridge open for seven years, leaving the TV on for 32 years or leaving the light on for 34 years.”

How do they know this? Have they left the fridge open for that long? If so, we chide them for their irresponsible behaviour. Don’t these people know the damage their point-proving does to the environment?

But point made. And to go with the long-term threat to our health, we read of a shorter term danger posed by 4x4s and their drivers.

Research produced at the Imperial College, London, and published in the British Medical Journal, says 4×4 drivers are likely to take more risks. "Our data shows a worryingly high level of non-compliance with laws on seat belts and hand-held mobile phones by drivers in London,” says the report. “Our observation that almost one in six drivers was not wearing a seat belt is a public health concern."

So not only will the drivers of the so-called Chelsea Tractors kill you and yours as they drive over your hatchback but they will also kill themselves.

The conclusion is that drivers of 4x4s believe they are safer, and so feel more able to take risks. Though the Times sees research produced by the Department of Transport that says bigger cars are safer than smaller ones, some benefits of sitting in a glorified tank are negated by greater risk taking.

Drivers of a 4×4 were found to be almost four times as likely to use a hand-help mobile phone while driving, and 26 per cent more likely not to wear a seatbelt.

It is all sobering stuff. And before you jump in front of a passing 4×4 and admonish the driver for killing you, your children and your children’s children, note that these people are risk takers.

And they may be tempted to risk running you down and trying to get way with it…

Posted: 23rd, June 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink