ban car advertisements!

Today’s lob is about car advertisemments, which the author considers a dangerous incitement to violence. They should be banned, just as cigarette and firearm advertisements are.

Follows is a longish letter to the editor (unpublished) of the Toronto Star on the subject.

Toronto Star
Letters to the Editor

March 9, 2005

Re: “20% admit they fall asleep while driving” by Kevin Mcgran

Nice: four million drivers a year fall asleep at the wheel in Canada. Almost half of these pass out within an hour of getting on the road, well within the average GTA car commute. Talk about the “end of

Am I the only one who sees in this figure yet another reason to discourage car dependency among our citizenry?

To point out that drivers asleep at the wheel pose an immediate danger to themselves, to their passengers, and to other innocent road users including pedestrians and cyclists, is to state the obvious. But will we ever read this in a Star editorial? Not likely.

Instead, we get the usual: the overwhelming attitude of the media is “cars are great; cars give us freedom; cars drive the economy; cars make us cool.” The Saturday Star devotes two whole sections to
“Wheels” (by which it means “motors,” because you’ll never read about anything without one in those pages).

Imagine the outcry if the Saturday Star had sections labeled “Tobacco” or “Firearms” each week.

Like cars, tobacco and firearms are facts of life in Canada: “necessary evils,” as the cliché has it. Like cars, they are responsible every day for deaths and hospitalizations. Like cars, they are regulated and licensed in recognition of their inherent danger.

So why is the car celebrated? Why is advertising it even tolerated?

Today’s story was buried on page A20, following two full-colour car advertisements: one full-page and one centre-fold. Imagine if you opened the pages of the Star to a full page advertisement for a handgun. Imagine a centrefold cigarette advertisement.

Well it wasn’t so long ago that both were considered “normal,” a legitimate source of advertising income.

It’s time to take our nation’s sick addiction to the automobile seriously, just like we did with cigarettes. It’s time to “uncool the car.”

Please join with me in calling on government, at the very highest level, to ban outright the advertisement or promotion of automobiles in print or broadcast media, just as was done for tobacco.

Jacob Allderdice

Prime Minister Paul Martin
Jack Layton, MP, Toronto-Danforth
Marilyn Churley, MPP, Toronto-Danforth
Paula Fletcher, Toronto Ward 30 councillor
David Miller, Mayor of Toronto

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