Why it’s time to start viewing the motoring industry the same way as the tobacco industry - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Dr Andrew Blewett, Matford Avenue, Exeter.

The government believes it is on to something with its message about a so-called ‘war on motorists’. They know that we are dependent on driving.

For decades every other system of transport has been relegated, not because cars are superior, but because we have designed a world that makes them seem so, wilfully disregarding the fact that cars kill through air pollution and collisions - 5,000 and 1,700 premature deaths annually, respectively, plus 30,000 serious injuries.

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As things stand, with the full support of Mr Sunak, we are deepening our dependence in a never ending addictive loop.

A file photo of traffic on Britain's roads. PIC: Alamy/PA.A file photo of traffic on Britain's roads. PIC: Alamy/PA.
A file photo of traffic on Britain's roads. PIC: Alamy/PA.

Cars and driving are sold as aspirational; the young and beautiful motoring along mysteriously empty roads. The tobacco industry pursued much the same sort of strategy; catch ‘em young and keep 'em hooked.

But deep down, like smoking, we know that the reality is breathing micro-particulate and gaseous pollution, overloaded trunk roads, and endless traffic rammed into ancient towns and cities ripped apart to accommodate the car and its semi-unaccountable consequences of disease, injury, death, noise and stress.

So, it’s easy to be drawn in by Mr Sunak‘s enthusiasm. We have been conditioned to love the internal combustion engine, as our basic needs in life have been retrofitted into 20th century technology from such a young age that we forget to question it.

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But question it we must. Are we a nation of polluters? Or families concerned about the children, young and older people whose lungs, hearts and brains are being poisoned by fumes? And what about the planet?

Where does this end? Dual carriageways in every suburb and into every village? The truth is that we need better alternatives.

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