My observation on this thing about banning this vehicle or that vehicle because an awful accident occurred is a bit like reacting to a tragic shooting by calling for a ban on guns...it's the PERSON, not the object, that usually
is the cause of the problem. A couple of exceptions I can think would be the Chevy Corvair and the Ford Pinto, both of which were proven to have design faults that could turn into surprises for the driver. I also recall that back in the 70s Firestone introduced a new steel-belted radial tire that used to blow unexpectedly and they were eventually redesigned to work.
By and large, the vehicles these days are designed far better than the ones of yesteryear, and certainly have more advanced safety features. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule...
Some people simply look at driving as a simple exercise. It's not simple at all - it's a potentially life-threatening act to take a vehicle out on the road, every time. We have a few more distractions these days - more traffic in some areas, cell phones, etc. - but by and large, there have always been a percentage of drivers out there who don't take their responsibilities behind the wheel seriously.
Driving too fast for conditions, not paying enough attention to what's going on around them, overloading the vehicle, failing to make sure tires are pressured up right and in good condition, brakes properly maintained, and a few other things all seem to be the major causes of accidents. And that means the “pilot in command” is generally at fault. I don't think very many REAL accidents actually happen...they are the result of how the driver treats the entire experience and thus, are preventable. This is just my “anecdotal opinion.”
SO WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
Well, as a starter, I would make it mandatory for every new driver to take a real driving course on a race track. Complete with encountering a slippery patch of road at 110 km/hr with big objects on either side, high-speed spinouts and all the other realism that usually occurs when something goes wrong on a public highway. And then review all this with the student so they learn what to do in all kinds of emergencies (and how to prevent them or minimize the damage). And then do it again, and again, and again, until they have the skills and the confidence to drive well in public.
By the way, I'd also include a healthy dose of the gory education detailed below.
WHAT ABOUT THE EXPERIENCED (BUT LOUSY) DRIVERS?
Well, education might help, but I think it first comes right down to people taking responsibility for their actions
. If every driver could get that concept firmly implanted in their head, then any corresponding education would at least have a place to settle in and start to do some good. I would include in that education a day of viewing the bloodiest, goriest vids and photos of real accidents (showing the consequences of bad driving), complete with detailed descriptions of what it was like to clean up the messes...running those sessions might be a great career for some retired police officers and ambulance drivers who wish to use their experience to make a valuable contribution to society.
I would also change the silly habit of just issuing traffic tickets for speeding and other driving offences. This would require sorting out which offences are the causes of the worst accidents, and that information must be in the record books somewhere. A ticket just represents a cash outlay and doesn't really do much to improve driving. (i.e., modify bad behaviour) If a driver isn't driving well, it's likely because they don't know how, or they don't give a damn. Or both.
Instead of simple cash fines, I'd rather see compulsory attendance at these “educational” sessions for first offenders. For second offenders, how about a meaningful fine (say, a thousand bucks or so) plus another educational session. For a third offence, all the above plus a licence suspension for a few months. If there is a fourth offence, just remove the privilege of driving permanently.
WHY SO HARSH? (How badly do we want to make our roads safer?)
Well, if the offender didn't get the message after 3 hits, I wouldn't want the crazy bastard anywhere near my space (or that of my loved ones) on the road.