Last night, I watched a police car – lights flashing and sirens screaming – swerve around behind me to enter an intersection against the red, causing a woman in a minivan to broadside him at around 50 mph.* (He stopped at the intersection, but obviously neither of them saw each other.)
The officer banged his head, but police cars are built like tanks. He seemed to be functioning normally within minutes.
The woman stayed in her seat, not moving, as her car’s horn blared. She was surrounded by an acrid haze of fumes from the airbag deployment. I held her arm, told her to keep her eyes open, and asked her inane questions as she teetered at the very edge of consciousness. She indicated that her chest or abdomen hurt, and seemed afraid to move.
Sometimes we get pretty academic here. We talk about numbers, and policies, and survival statistics from crashes at various speeds.
But this is not an academic exercise. Every transportation decision we make is a decision that directly affects someone’s life – and, more dramatically but no less true, how many of our neighbors will make it home for dinner tonight. The width of streets, the number of lanes, the speed of traffic… each and every one of these things has a direct, documented effect on the number of people who WILL be killed or seriously injured on that road.
We’ll revisit this at a later date, in some detail, I’m sure. I do ask that you would offer prayers for this woman’s full recovery. I left shortly after the ambulance arrived, and really don’t have any idea how seriously injured she was.
We’ll be on break here to celebrate the remainder of Holy Week, and will see you again on Tuesday for a discussion of children walking to school in Switzerland. May you and your loved ones celebrate a blessed Passover and Easter.