- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Another attack on living the good life looms ahead. The Sierra Club along with insurance companies and numerous government agencies have found that when a big car hits a little car, the little car will lose. Sport utility vehicles are being targeted as gas guzzlers and a danger to public health. I don't know how long you have to go to school to understand that a big car, or for that matter, a big man, should be given the right of way. CBS News even went so far as to show us an accident with a big car on top of a little car.

This brings up the question,"Should we be making little cars?" As the owner of a sport utility vehicle, I am not about to trade it in for one of those little eggshell cars because the insurance company won't have to pay as much if I get hit. If safety is truly a concern here, which we know it isn't, then lets start making big cars, period. The Transportation Department has remained silent on the devastation an 18-wheeler can cause. Also, a loaded dump truck would flatten my sport utility vehicle and suffer little damage in the process.

People buy mini-vans, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles because they are safer. Sales are expected to soar in the coming years. However, there are those people, who, being forced to drive small cars, feel that all cars should be created equal. They look at cars much like they look at health care. Nevermind that the death rate for those driving a Chevrolet Suburban is the lowest of any car on the road. Safety will take a back seat when stacked up against repair costs.

How the Sierra Club can be involved is a mystery. I can't imagine that members are forbidden to own a 4x4 or pickup truck. They seem to be particularly concerned about emissions from the 14-miles-a-gallon rating for large sport utility vehicles. These folks who are concerned about emission control should take a trip to the nearest airport and watch a jumbo jet take to the sky. The emissions generated can be seen with the naked eye, and I have often wondered how long it would take a car, or even a thousand cars, to emit the same amount.

There is no doubt about it bigger is better when it comes to safety on the highway. Truck drivers have known this for a long time. The National Safety Transportation Board just seems to be finding out. One of the great things about driving one of these oversize vehicles is how it cuts down on tailgating. Those who love to hang on your bumper don't seem to like looking at the same bumper when it is eye level.

Once again, it appears we are being governed by the insurance companies. Even though your sport utility vehicle is safer than the other cars on the road, don't be surprised if your premium grows to match the size of your vehicle. Someone has to pay for all the damage inflicted when a little car jumps in front of a large one. As usual, the insurance company doesn't tell us who is responsible for most of these accidents involving big cars and little cars. I think it's small cars with an attitude.

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