A recent article spoofs America’s reckless drivers—but the report isn’t that far from the truth. The Onion (a satirical newspaper) reported that Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters had allotted $270 billion for a federal project to construct special lanes for “dangerous and careless drivers” on national highways.
The project, said The Onion, would entail the construction of “…1,400 of the new lanes over the next four years, all of which will feature a special bowl design to keep cars in the lane while drivers are sleeping, drunk, applying makeup in the rearview mirror, receiving or performing oral sex, or drumming along on the steering wheel while singing ‘The Immigrant Song’ at the top of their lungs.”
Although the Onion’s report is pure satire, their description of derelict, dangerous drivers is dead-on.
The Onion described the project as being designed for the “…millions of drivers who can’t be bothered with speed limits, turn signal use, or not careening madly out into oncoming traffic.”
Peters told the Onion, “Whether hell-bent on putting themselves and everyone around them in danger or just drunk off their gourds and out for a simple joyride, America’s reckless will no longer be forced to putter along with careful, conscientious, considerate citizens.” [Or, for that matter, defenseless pedestrians.]
Peters then cut the ribbon on the inaugural lane by speeding through it in a rusted-out 1984 Chevy Cavalier, steering with her knees as her left hand held a cup of hot coffee aloft and her right hand slapped her 4-year-old daughter sitting in the back seat.
Perhaps the Onion was inspired by Peters’ openly anti-cycling and pedestrian stance. Last Fall, Peters publicly denounced bicycle and pedestrian lanes, trails, museums, and lighthouses, and accused them of funneling money away from other, more important resources, like highways, roads, and bridges—all for vehicular traffic. (In fact, only a tiny fraction of the federal transportation budget is used to support ped-friendly, non-polluting travel.)
The Onion’s spoof may inspire laughter, but sends shivers down the spines of those who have experienced reckless driving-firsthand.