Sunday, March 11, 2012

Research Paper on Safety of Automobility and Alternatives

Research Paper on Safety of Automobility and Alternatives

Safety of Automobility and Alternatives
Today it is impossible for us to imagine our lives without cars and other automotive vehicles. We came to rely on vehicles so greatly that nowadays even a fifteen-minute walk by foot tends to be a challenge. It is the hard, cold reality that: we take elevators instead of walking up the stairs, we order food over the phone or the Internet, refusing to go out, and we take a car every time we have to visit a department store situated one block away.

Without a shadow of doubt, the invention of an automobile has changed our lives forever. It gave people an opportunity to get closer to each other, moreover, it made it easier for us to get around. However, the automobile industry can be said to cause many troubles to the humankind as well.

The following paper will talk particularly about the fact that automobility has become very dangerous and explain causes for it. Additionally, I will present the reader with discussion of the subject in the relevant literature, providing applicable theories and discusses opinions. Finally, in conclusion I will list possible alternatives to using automobiles.

We can write a custom research paper on Safety of Automobility for You!

Brief history of automobility
It is well know that an automobile was not invented in one day by one inventor, but the process of its creation reflects the evolution that took place worldwide (Bellis). The history of cars is marked by many patents by many inventors, however, there are couple of figures that stand out in the line of inventors, starting with the first theoretical plans for a motor vehicle that had been worked out by Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton. Some time later, in the eighteenth century, particularly in 1769, the very first self-propelled road vehicle was invented by French engineer and mechanic, Nicolas Joseph Cugnot. This vehicle served as a military tractor. Cugnot was the first inventor to use a steam engine to power his vehicle, built under his instructions at the Paris Arsenal by mechanic Brezin. Two decades later the first steam-powered land vehicle was patented in the United States by Oliver Evans. Richard Trevithick built a first road carriage powered by steam in Great Britain in 1801. Additionally, between 1832 and 1839 Robert Anderson, an inventor from Scotland, invented the first electric carriage (Bottorff).

It is obvious that invention of motor vehicle was one of the most important downturns in the history of the humanity. The invention of a car enabled people to travel around. Moreover, it made people very flexible and gave them more freedom. With the appearance of cars people began to leave their communities and their homes in search of employment opportunities and adventures somewhere else. When the first cars had started to be used, it became clear that better and more roads have to be created in order to fit all those that wanted „to hit them”. Such state of things created a very big pool of jobs via road constructions, which then strengthened the economy of the United States and many European countries.

It is well known that people judge the object mostly by its looks. Thus, it is natural that design was always a very significant feature of the automobile for the vast majority of consumers (Edson). Of course, those willing to drive or ride in cars were interested in safety, efficiency, and reliability of a car, however, people were even more interested in the way the car looked (Gartman). When thinking about it, we can see that we are not much different from people enjoying the first cars. Today the technology is so developed and there are so many features that are combined in every vehicle that we tend to find it rather hard to follow what is exactly inside our car. This means that almost a century later, most of us still chose the car by the way it looks and not by the special features it offers (Meyer).

To finish up this section of the paper I find it necessary to give the reader brief information about who stood behind auto-production in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In fact, prior to the introduction of assembly line and mass production automobile factories operated on a craft system of production. For the most part, the auto workforce consisted of men, though women appeared in the shops only when the auto production increased. In addition, the workforce was overwhelmingly white, since few African Americans entered the auto plants until the shortages in labor of World War I. With the exception of the Ford factories, black workers had to complete only the dirtiest, the most difficult, and most dangerous job categories (Meyer).

Automobility in literature
Many may not now it, however the concept of Mobility has long been a key category within contemporary social sciences. In fact, there are many researches done and books written about the social and geographical movement of both modern collectives and individuals, implying not the migration of tribes in the medieval times, but migration of individuals with the help of vehicles. In the works of such scientists John Urry, Zygmunt Bauman, and Manuel Castells „mobility” is described as the major attribute to characterize the modern society. The reason it is so lays in the fact that our society simply cannot be looked at outside the framework of mobility as we depend on it too much.

For the sake of this paper I would like to suggest, based on prior readings, that the sociology of mobility emphasizes the interdependence „of social-, residential-, virtual- and auto-mobility”. Additionally, there are even two different kinds of mobilities that are: traditional and reflexive mobilities (Beckmann, 2001a). Lower I would like to present some theories of automobility and traffic. The amount of such theories is remarkable, however later in the paper it will be seen that today it is important to take actions when it comes to automobility and not spend time solidifying theoretical bases (Bekmann). There are several groups of theories that should be distinguished. Firstly, there are critical theorists that are trying to estimate the socio-economic effects of automobility, particularly these theorists are Kraemer and Badoni. Secondly, there are system theoretical trials that accentuate the autopoiesis of the auto-system, this vision was described in the works by Kuhm (Bekmann). Thirdly, there are orthodox and reflexive modernization theories proposed by scientists that are tracking the links between modernization and mobilization (Rammler, 2001).

Such branches of science as the sociology of risk, sociology of consumption, sociology of technology, and sociology of youth have given rise to insightful inquiries into multiple forms of everyday mobility. Such insights have shown that mobility can be a highly ambivalent and confusing concept. This ambiguousness is well represented in the case of automobility. We may have never thought about it, but for example such vehicle as a regular car enables and disables us, it individualizes and reintegrates us, moreover, it liberates us from having to stay at the place we do not enjoy. At the same time, today we see that a car – the beneficial technology discussed above can be rather harmful for us. Thus, the duality of automobility is clear. There are authors that define „the sorcerer’s apprentice syndrome” and emphasize more the extraordinary modern risks and dangers automobility has put in front of us. Though, no matter whether one considers automobility beneficial or harmful, he/she cannot deny that it has enabled us to „move” – to develop. Thus, all of the above leads to the conclusion that the most unique trait of automobility is that it is the motivator of modernization (Bekmann).

Effects of automobility on the world
In the sections above it was pointed out that automobility has changed the life forever. This statement cannot be denied, or even argued against, because it is purely true. However, in this part of the paper I would like to state the harmful effects automobility had on our society and the bad changes it led to.

First of all, automobiles are one of the biggest threats to the environment that is already very fragile. The petroleum used by cars the exhausts of which are every minute released into the atmosphere cause severe air pollution. The air-pollution one car of average size causes is outstanding, however, today most households have at least one car if not more. Thus, it can be easily imagined how much unwanted and harmful fusions are let out into the air we are breathing in every minute. Yet, automobiles do not only pollute the air, in fact the auto impacts upon water sources are generally extremely high. The harmful auto emissions accumulate on the bottom of water sources and harm the inhabitants of these sources. Lastly, in the last couple of years there have been various claims put forward with regarding the effects of automobile-related air pollution upon agricultural crops. In reality, every year auto emissions ruin one quarter of all the grown plants through air pollution.

The overwhelming pollutions mentioned above, of course, influence the health of people. We breath in the gas-polluted air, we eat fish flogged from unclean reservoirs, and we consume fruit and vegetables planted in the regions suffering from pollution toxic waste…The result of such actions does not keep us waiting for it. In fact, auto emissions cause severe respiratory problems, temporary decreases in lung capacity, and inflammation of lung tissue. Overall pollution makes the body’s immune system vulnerable and impair, also it reduces the release of oxygen to body tissues and harms blood vessels in healthy individuals. Moreover, it leads to increase in risks cancer-related deaths and contribute to birth defects, asthma, low birth weight, and infant deaths. As a final point if a person does not get any of the mentioned above illnesses he/she is still always at risk to experience a slow death as a result of driving-related stress caused by unethical and careless driving patterns or simply being run over by another careless driver.

It is interesting to know that automobility has also changed the look and design of the modern cities. Prior to the appearance of the automobile, relatively slow-moving streetcars (carriages) were the major modes of transportation within cities. The streetcars did not need much space, thus the traffic way was medium in size, leaving much space to the pavement. However, with the appearance of automobiles and especially when they became popular the city roads were transformed to become wider and wider while the sidewalks got narrower. Furthermore, the pedestrians from then on had to be more alert as to where their step in order not to be ran over (Dauvergne, 37).

It was already said that driving cars had give people the new kind of freedom. Before they had to leave in close communities and participate in the activities situated next door because it was too problematic for them to travel. Though, many sociologists suggest that when the cars became available, many people not only lost their ties to one neighborhood, but also lost ties to their community and relatives. Suddenly, people became too busy and started to always find it very hard and time taking to drive to see a relative, while it used to be that one was happy to walk kilometers for the same purpose. So, it can be said that automobility had a great impact on our environment, on our habits, on our tastes, and even on our relationships (Dauvergne, 35-36).

Safety of automobility
It is clear to everyone that motor vehicles have a dramatically harmful effect on our environment and health. However, what has to be particularly discussed is the effect automobility had on our safety. The following section will deal with this question, describing decline in safety caused by automobiles for drivers and the pedestrians.

According to the data collected by the United Nations organization car accidents are recognized to cause around 44% of accidental deaths in the United States. This number makes car accidents to be the country’s leading cause of death. According to the United Nations’ statistics, each year around 1.2 million people die and millions more are injured or disabled in consequence of road accidents, mostly in the urban areas of developing countries. The numbers presented above apply to mostly all countries, however, trends in many countries, particularly those with low and middle income, show that the problem is going to become only worse within the next decade (United Nations, sixty-second session). What is despicable is that those who suffer from the road traffic injuries are mainly young people between 10 and 24 years of age (United Nations Session).

Though, not only the road traffic injuries ruin the health and lives of many people, they also bring about a major threat to devaluate the developmental achievements attained in many countries. The United Nations report explains that such injuries place a severe financial strain on budgets of many families that have to cover the medical and rehabilitation costs. Furthermore, the families also have to worry about the indirect cost of injuries that is the incapability of the injured party to work and earn money. At the national level, road traffic injuries weigh down the country’s economy, achieving it „through the direct impacts on health care and rehabilitation services” (Dauvergne, 36).

The above information is shocking, what makes it even more shocking is that we are living in the times of increased awareness of the issue. Though, it appears that, greater effort and resources should be directed towards this drastic problem. Over the last couple of year considerable development has been made in improvement of road safety. Furthermore, such projects were coordinated jointly by many countries worldwide that fostered the decision making and ensured implementation of the new policies. Some changes for the better have been made: governments of some countries have increased traffic accidents data collection and prevention efforts, the United Nations agencies have contributed greatly to creating awareness of the problem, victims’ organizations and other non-governmental organizations have enjoyed cooperation with officials, working on improving the road safety (United Nations Session). Though, every day more and more cars are bought and hit the road, making it very difficult to cope with the problem.

In conclusion I would like to say that today we all are aware about the dangers the automobility has brought along. We all know that emissions from motor vehicles hurt our planet and us directly. However we tend not to be willing to change anything, arguing it by the fact that we are too accustomed to using motor vehicles.

It is very important that governments all over the world continue the projects launched on improving the road safety. It is vital that scientists work on discovering special kinds of fuels that would be less harmful to the environment and our health. It is necessary that the United Nations and other organization of a kind increase the awareness of this problem. Though, what is even more important is that every one of us should try to find alternatives to the use of motor vehicles. Such alternatives may include riding bikes instead of driving or when choosing not to take a bike commuting by public transit or car pooling. This will reduce emissions, traffic, and noise on the road and make the world a better place to live.
This is a free research paper on Safety of Automobility topic. Keep in mind that all free research project samples and research paper examples are taken from open sources – they are plagiarized and cannot be used as your own research project. If you need a qualitative custom research project on Safety of Automobility for college, university, Master's or PhD degree – you are welcome to contact professional research writing company to have your paper written online by academic research writers.

________________Enjoy our custom research paper writing service!__________________