Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yosemite Fatalities - Where's the Automobile?

Another example of how the media and society continue to downplay deaths by motor vehicles, continue to trivialize these losses of lives, by regarding them as inevitable and acceptable consequences of necessity, was brought to my attention a couple days ago by the Los Angeles Times. The story concerned the unusually high fatality rate in Yosemite National Park this year due to drownings and falls. While the story served a purpose, as a wake-up call, for visitors to exercise caution, a simple bar graph printed with the story highlighted another story which we never hear told. What has been the top cause of death in the Park between the years 1851 and 2010? If you guessed motor vehicles, and if you are reading this I am sure you did, you would be correct. 

If you consider that many of those years are pre-automobile (the first tourist to arrive by auto did not do so until 1900), and thus all the fatalities during those first fifty years were due to drowning and falls, the role of motor vehicles in the Park's fatality picture, takes on even more significance. If, as the story suggests, most of these fatalities due to drowning and falls, could be avoided by using proper precautions and common sense, certainly the same could be said when sitting behind the wheel of an automobile.

Oliver Lippincott, reported to be the first person to arrive at Yosemite by motor vehicle
photo from Yosemite Online Library, via

1 comment:

  1. If the cars had remained like Oliver's we wouldn't have had all the autodeath.
    In all autodeath is a good thing!? Autodeath helps to keep the population down! Autodeath makes wild sounds that wake up the neighbors. That is good for staying alert. Autodeath is the American way. Just ask James Dean and Johnny Horton.


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