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MOTOR CAR KILLINGS

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

MOTOR CAR KILLINGS

Julian Chase
The New York Times
January 4, 1914


Favorably Compared with Fatalities from Trolley Accidents.

To the Editor of The New York Times:

Permit me to commend your editorial article on the street accidents in this morning's Times, and particularly that part in which you point out that an increase in the number of motor car fatalities can be prevented and indicate how this can be accomplished.

As you show, police activity in enforcing the traffic rules during December resulted in a material reduction in motor car accidents at a time when such accidents might reasonably have been expected to occur more frequently than at the average rate. And, as you further point out, the proper procedure to keep the rate at the lowest point is not spasmodic but regular and consistent enforcement of these rules.

In your last sentence, "The police should be alert at all times and the Magistrates should inflict due punishments," you offer the solution for what some call the motor-car problem. Motorists who do wrong are just like other human beings who do wrong, and the way to stop the reckless use of motor cars is to stop it—to prevent it, not by indirect legislation, but by direct police action. The record for the month of December supports me in this contention.

Perhaps, while on the subject of street accidents, you will let me call attention to the following:

According to the figures prepared by the National Highway Protective Association and printed on the last page of to-day's paper, motor cars killed 362 persons on the streets of New York City in 1913, while trolley cars were responsible for the killing of but 106.

According to the Secretary of State, there are 65,000 motor cars registered from within the limits of Greater New York. According to the Public Service Commission, the number of trolley cars operating daily on the streets of the greater city is 7,541.

Assuming that the average number of motor cars on the streets per day is only one-half of the total number, (which, considering the fact that the car in city use is used much more frequently than the one in the suburbs, is extremely conservative,) the ratio of motor car fatalities to the average number of cars in use becomes 1 in 100. On the other hand, it can very easily be figured that the ratio of trolley car deaths is 1 to 71 trolley cars.

Considering these figures and the fact that trolley cars are limited to a comparatively few streets and that they run in but one part of the roadway, while motor cars are to be found on all streets in all parts of the city and on all parts of the street, the accident rate seems to be very much in favor of the motor car. Yet we hear nothing to-day, or, at any rate, not very much, about trolley car killings.

JULIAN CHASE,
Editor of Motor.
New York, Jan. 3, 1914.



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