Reports on Car Accidents in North Carolina: Is Anyone Really Paying Attention Anymore?

September 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

This blog reports on auto accidents in North Carolina and beyond; it discusses relevant issues, such as accident prevention, safety, legal issues, and so forth. But this is not the only Charlotte car accident blog on the web; nor is it the only media source that tries to “dive beneath the headlines” to bring readers a more nuanced, useful look at the news.

One problem that faces any media source, in this attention-overloaded era, is the problem of the banality of evil.

Go to Google and search Google News for stories about car accidents or DUIs or other problems just in the Charlotte area alone. You will come up with dozens of search results just in the past week or so. One might think that all of this “media oxygen” would be a good thing – that it would make auto accident safety more salient in the minds of readers. And for some people, it might do that. But for other people, the inundation of information can numb.

As former Soviet Leader, Joseph Stalin, famously once said, “one death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, around 50,000 traffic fatalities occur in the United States every year, give or take, and millions more injuries happen. Car accidents are sadly commonplace — so much so that even the most eagle-eyed of us often loses sight of just how tragic they are.

If you’ve recently been injured – or a family member has been injured – auto dangers are probably pretty salient in your mind right now. But most people, most of the time, are caught up ruminating about the latest celebrity fads, reality TV shows, office gossip, etc. The commonplaceness of accidents renders them banal and creates a messaging problem for anybody interested in promoting accident safety.

After all, if you’re not emotionally invested in safety prevention, it’s hard to draw people’s attention away from Facebook drama or from some crazy twist on a reality TV show. Thus, messages fall flat, and drivers don’t learn lessons that they could that could help them, and the vicious cycle perpetuates.

How can people who are interested in auto safety and accident prevention break through this noise? There is no obvious way. The few public interest groups concerned about auto safety don’t exactly have deep pockets compared to, say, the guys who manufacture Pringles, Twinkies and 7UP.

So it may be impossible, or at least virtually impossible, to “change the world.”

But we can start at home.

Start with yourself – you do at least have some control over your own thoughts and behaviors. Spend some time – maybe 5 or 10 minutes – right now reading about auto accident safety “best practices.” There are many posts on this blog that discuss those issues, but you can Google search for tips that might be relevant to your situation. But just get started with the educational process! Change yourself – your own thoughts, your own behaviors – in a miniscule way to positively change our road safety environment.


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