Twenty years ago, smoking was permitted in most restaurants and public buildings. Nowadays, smokers have accepted that they have no right to force nonsmokers to put up with secondhand smoke.
In a similar way, society needs to make the transition to a mindset in which driving a single-occupancy, non-electric passenger car is viewed as selfish, anti-social behavior.
Driving causes traffic congestion and noise. It contributes to global warming. It worsens the trade deficit. It makes America dependent on Middle Eastern oil kingdoms that have been breeding grounds for terrorists. It corrupts our foreign policy. And it pollutes the air, harming people’s health.
Recent medical studies show that people living within several hundred meters of major freeways, like I-405 and I-90, have reduced lung function and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. (See for example, Auto Pollution’s Carbon Particulates Harm Kids’ Lung Function.) So, if you drive a car, you are harming people’s health.
We need to take drastic steps to encourage the use of public transportation, bicycles, carpooling and telecommuting and to discourage our harmful dependence on passenger cars.