The summer before last, my european french-born mother was traveling in France with her european polish-born boyfriend. Both are in their late eighties. He was driving. A mutual friend was riding shotgun, and my [then 87 year old] mother was in the back seat......not wearing her seatbelt AS USUAL.RX8er wrote:Are there any Europeans here or someone that has lived there for a while? In many countries, Drivers Ed is a very long class period and is a privilege to drive, not a right. Driving is treated way different than here in the US where we feel that it is a right. I remember several (read that as about 15 years) years ago talking to a BMW designer and asking him why they didn't put cup holders in their cars. He looked at me and said that "A car is for driving and not eating or drinking" in and kind of scoffed at the idea that us Americans would want to do something else, other than drive.
Her boyfriend pulled out of a side road and made a left turn onto a major highway, whereupon they were struck by an 18 passenger van pulling a trailer with a bunch of canoes on it, traveling at highway speeds. The van's driver had no chance to avoid the collision because he had just crested a hill, so the side road was not visible, and the car bearing my mother was not visible until it was too late to avoid the collision. The van struck the back of the car on its right rear corner, rolling it over onto its side and throwing it into a ditch. Thankfully, my mother's boyfriend and their friend were miraculously unhurt, and nobody in the van was hurt. My unseatbelted european mother was knocked out, suffering a brain injury which has rendered her deaf, and she suffered a femoral fracture just above her knee implant, which destroyed the implant.
She spent the rest of the summer and the early fall in hospital and in convalescence, having her femur surgically repaired and and a new knee implant put in, before being flown home to the U.S. to complete her recovery.
All that european nanny-state statist crap does nothing to promote highway safety. At the end of the day, bad driving and ignorance of the seatbelt laws still result in accidents and injury, just like it does here in the U.S. The french have alcohol related traffic accidents at an even higher rate than we do, so where is all that vaunted "[d]rivers Ed is a very long class period and is a privilege to drive, not a right" that you mention? And by the way, driving in the U.S. is may be a right, but you can have your license suspended or revoked. And by the way, BMWs are the stuff of the upper classes there just like they are here. The average european drives an econobox, just like people do here. The 3 cylinder Citroen diesel inky-dinky-doo little car I drove when I was last there in 2004 had cup holders. And by the way, my mother's American purchased BMW has cup holders too. It's a standard feature. And some people who work for BMW are elitist snots. The vast majority of people all over the world buy cars for transportation first, and for the status they believe their choice of car imparts second, and not primarily for the entertainment of driving, which comes a distant third to the first two reasons. Just ask yourself what percentage of BMW owners actually take their cars to an open-track day on a paved road course. I'll bet that it is less than one half of one percent. The other 99.5% bought their BMWs for transportation first, and the status that they feel BMW confers to them second, and driving (as in an athletic participatory experience) a distant third.
Europe is NOT where we need to be looking for solutions to problems in this country.......if indeed we are having a problem.