With President Obama's gun control package laid out on Wednesday, which includes pushing for an Assault Weapons Ban in addition to 23 executive orders for gun control, we should discuss other areas where we might potentially save lives as well. President Obama has often used the term "military-style" assault weapons to describe civilian semiautomatic versions of military firearms. (They are not the same.) Going with this logic, we should also take a look at "military-style" vehicles: namely, sport-utility-vehicles (SUVs).
Many are unaware that the SUV's origins are directly linked to the military. After World War I, the United States military was in need of a rugged vehicle that could serve to transport equipment and be used as a reconnaissance vehicle. Thus, the Jeep was born. From the initial Jeep design, we are now inundated with other military-style vehicles, like the Hummer which is derived from the Humvee.
These vehicles are not needed. Further, they pose serious danger to all Americans as they have become one of the most popular designs of vehicles on our highways and roads today, increasing in market share day after day.
One of the main dangers of SUVs is their tendency to rollover during accidents. According to research in 2008, there were 10,694 deaths due to vehicle rollovers, with 62% of SUV deaths attributed to rollovers. In addition, occupants in SUVs were twice as likely to die from rollover crashes than those of occupants of small cars, with 8,062 SUV occupants dying in 2006 alone.
In addition to the danger to the occupants, SUVs also pose a danger occupants of smaller cars on the road. Studies show that SUV "high-set grills deliver blunt force trauma to the heads of lower-sitting sedan occupants," and in fatal accidents, for every one SUV fatality avoided there are 4.3 small car occupant fatalities.
Another negative consequence of SUVs has always been fuel economy. In our efforts to build a green economy, we must do away with these fuel inefficient "vehicles of war." Of the 2012 large SUVs, even the ones with the best fuel economy meagerly offer just over 20 mpg.
These military style vehicles were designed for theaters of war and have no place on our streets or in the parking lots of our movie theaters, schools, and shopping malls. If we can save only one life, then we owe it to the American people to try. We must demand that our legislators take action to enact a ban on all military style vehicles. This is something we can do today, and, unlike firearms, we don't have that pesky Second Amendment standing in the way.