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Anyone competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination can talk gun violence, but only Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is ready to talk about traffic violence.
Monday morning, Warren, fresh off a weekend of bad polling news, took to Twitter to express her support for those fighting the good fight against cars on “Traffic Crash Victims Day.”
“Traffic violence kills thousands and injures even more Americans every year. On World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Crash Victims, I’m sending my love to the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones. It’s time to #EndTrafficViolence,” the Massachusetts Democrat tweeted.
A quick investigation into the origins of “Traffic Crash Victims Day” reveals that it may be less an odd holiday and more a poorly named crusade. The entity behind “Traffic Crash Victims Day” — at least the one pushing the #EndTrafficViolence hashtag — focuses primarily on the human cost of illegal street racing, a legitimate concern not just in the United States but abroad. The United Nations also honors “Traffic Crash Victims Day” by pushing to create better driver training programs in countries where motored transportation is largely new.
“More than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of motorized 2- and 3-wheelers and their passengers are collectively known as “vulnerable road users” and account for half of all road traffic deaths around the world. A higher proportion of vulnerable road users die in low-income countries than in high-income countries,” the UN’s website for Traffic Crash Victims Day reports.
There are, of course, plenty of American organizations working to protect bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists from damage caused by careless car drivers. Motorcyclists and bicyclists, especially, have become powerful lobby groups in recent years, pushing for dedicated lanes in cities for two-wheeled modes of transportation.
But, of course, Warren’s tweet doesn’t say that. It just says “End traffic violence,” which, of course, begs the question of how. Warren’s proposal for curbing gun violence is “sweeping,” according to National Public Radio, and involves “requiring background checks, investigating the NRA, and revoking licenses for gun dealers who break the law” for starters.
“Her plan calls for creating a federal licensing system, limiting the number of firearms someone could buy, raising the minimum age to 21 for purchasing a gun, holding gun manufacturers liable (and, in some cases, even holding gun industry CEOs personally liable),” NPR reports. “She also wants to raise taxes for gun manufacturers (from 10% to 30% on guns and from 11% to 50% on ammunition).”
So what about cars? The Internet was happy to provide Warren with a number of ideas, few of them serious.
It's time to stand up to Big Traffic!
— Spam Elliot (@jones4440) November 18, 2019
One Twitter user suggested she model her car control efforts on her gun control efforts: “No one needs a vehicle that travels faster than 20 mph. And large capacity cars are a problem as well. We need a waiting period, a restriction on resales, and a car buyback program. Don’t get me started on Jeeps. No one needs a car that was originally designed for war.”
“It’s about time we ban cars, @ewarren. There’s no 2nd Amendment right to own a car and commit traffic violence,” wrote another.
“For 100 years they & the rest of the car lobby have been demonizing pedestrians normally walking around their towns as ‘jaywalkers’ & demanding DOTs make it easier for motorists to kills them so they can go faster,” wrote another.
Warren is clearly desperate to pull in any demographic she can at the moment. Her poll numbers in early primary states are sliding and, in the case of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus, her favorability has slid more than ten points among voters since she was forced to give details about her “Medicare for All” program. At the moment, according to the most recent polls, she is running a distant third to former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.