On TV, the cars zoom, zip and zap around all sorts of obstacles. Only in the small print do you see the warning: professional driver on closed course.
Meanwhile, Acura ads in magazines such as The New Yorker call driving, “a civilized way to handle your aggression.”
That ad (which also states that "the civilized way to handle aggression is to embrace it") was the last straw for one of our readers in Rhode Island who wrote to us to complain about car ads that seem to promote dangerous and aggressive driving. “Where is the outcry to put pressure on these companies to stop promoting the kind of driving that is life threatening?” the reader asked.
“It is unusual these days to drive more than 15 miles on a highway without spotting someone who is clearly driving in a way that endangers life — and this is what is glorified in most auto advertising today,” the reader said. “Perhaps we need the government to step in the way it did with the advertising of alcohol and cigarettes. Surely these aggressive drivers are equally as dangerous.”
At the very least, the reader adds, pressure should be put on auto companies to stop featuring dangerous practices.
We agree — and humbly note that we’re not alone in our growing concerns about aggressive driving. Last month, the Vatican issued "ten commandments for motorists" (which actually contains over 80 points). As the Vatican noted: Cars tend to bring out the “primitive” side of human beings, thereby producing "rather unpleasant results."
“We need to take these dynamics into account and react by appealing to the noble tendencies of the human spirit, to a sense of responsibility and self-control, in order to prevent manifestations of the psychological regression that is often connected to driving a means of transport," the document continued. “Driving means coexisting. Driving means controlling oneself."
We have just one word to add: Amen.
Car safety resources on Consumerreports.org