Today's member blog post comes from Strong Towns member, Steven Shultis, who writes at Rational Urbanism.

Two twenty-something young women die within three days of one other on area roadways, one crashing into a dump truck and the other a bus, one on route 116, the other just a block from route 116, both in beautiful, bright, afternoon conditions. Not only has the local media not connected them in any way, there have been no follow up articles or reports on the 16 “twenty somethings” (leaving out the 19 year old and the three children) who have lost their lives on the region’s roadways since January 1st.

Most of these deaths have occurred in rural or exurban places like this:

Or this:

Mostly two lane high-speed undivided roads. 

It doesn’t surprise me that the local media has had nothing to say about the fact that this “long hot summer” has not seen a single homicide in the city of Springfield, you know, during the time of year when “those people” tend to get all violent and stuff, but not writing about distracted driving and the agony untimely death? That is just the sort of human suffering our media is designed to exploit! 

Had these deaths involved gangs or drugs you could guarantee that “two dead girls in a week” and “twenty dead young people in a year” would have spawned a whole series of follow ups on the tragedy of violence in our cities and the fear gripping the citizenry as their young people once again run the gauntlet of “Escape from New York” style urban mayhem. On the other hand, thousands of parents are watching their children embrace adulthood in leafy green suburbia, snatching the keys from the hook by the door as they speed off to work, or a date, or just to hang out with friends only vaguely aware that there just might be something really big and terribly tragic going on here.

The Death Race

For the past year, Steven Shultis has collected data on traffic deaths in his region, and the results tell a devastating but important story. You can view the map below and read more about this project on Steven's website.

(Top photo by Tripp)

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