Financial TimesFinancial Times

America’s obsession with big cars has fatal consequences

By John Burn-Murdoch

24 Feb 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Republicans are way more likely than Democrats to buy big trucks. But as the average American car gets bigger, the road gets increasingly dangerous for pedestrians, writes the FT's John Burn-Murdoch.

For all the grim tales of guns and opioids, the thing that really hits you as a visitor to the US these days is the cars. Literally, for too many people. In 2021, road fatalities were the second leading cause of death among Americans aged under 45, ahead of Covid-19, suicides and gun violence.

On a visit to the US last month, three things made a strong impression: the sheer size of the cars; the relative lack of electric models with their characteristic hum; and speed limits that seem entirely optional. All, I think, stem from the same underlying tendency: to see driving as an expression of personal freedom.

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