Cars Are Not Sentient Beings With Free Will

Image: ABC7
Image: ABC7

On Saturday, someone driving a Mercedes SUV jumped the curb at a Parker shopping center, smashed through the glass storefront, and took down seven people inside. At least one person, teenager Rylie Guentensberger, is in critical condition.

Last Friday, a driver took out a post office in Pine. On Sunday, another person operating a vehicle plowed through someone’s home in Morrison. On both occasions, people were inside and could have been killed or seriously injured, though they weren’t.

The incidents resulted from human beings operating machines capable of maiming and killing people. Not, as ABC7 and 9News tell it, free-willed metal monsters with the ability to plow through structures on their own accord.

A “runaway car” did not tear through “the entire length of the store, shattering glass, hitting people and knocking over merchandise laden shelves, before coming to a stop at the back door.” A person behind the wheel did.

It was not a Ford Escape that “crashed through the wall” of a post office. It was a driver, though 9News gave no explanation of what might’ve led to the crash. Just your garden variety car-versus-building story, apparently.

We’ve been through this a million times before — it’s a matter of accuracy, not semantics. It’s not okay for drivers to strike people crossing the street, shopping in a store, or sitting in their living room. So when they do, blaming it on a “runaway” car not only obscures problems like careless driving and dangerous street design, it’s unjust to victims.