By David Peel
What is more scary sharks or bathtubs?
Sometimes those things which we should be afraid of, we ignore. And then we spend time being afraid of things that are better ignored. It is a paradox of human behavior.
Statistically falls in the bathroom area are going to kill and maim so many more people than sharks have in the history of human kind. It is not even close. But understandably we are afraid of the ominous, grey Great Whites lurking underneath the surface. (Cue the JAWS theme music here). If you parasail at Orange Beach or Pensacola you will often see small sharks going in between families that have no interest in eating humans. Most of the smaller breeds of sharks are simply chasing schools of fish that are also unnoticed by the swimmers. But yet we all have a visceral reaction to sharks, and snakes and other things that can hurt us.
But we don’t see the bathroom, or a light socket, or a driveway as a threat. Though truthfully, each one of those areas takes a more significant toll on our population.
In reading some historical nonfiction, I was amazed to learn that in World War I, most armies went a full year without even issuing helmets. Headgear prior to this time had been cloth or potentially horsehair. So in the greatest artillery barrage that mankind had seen up until that point, they were hiding in a trench and covering up all they could, and were pelted with rocks and shrapnel with a head covered only with effectively a baseball cap.
I think of this every time I drive to Arkansas and other states that do not require a helmet on a motorcycle. One could make a pretty good case that we ought to be wearing helmets even in vehicles, although I know that would never catch on. I would be the first among the folks not to do it. However, statistically a pretty good case could be made for it. But when I see a young man, who may be a new father, on a motorcycle with no helmet riding through Arkansas, I must tell you it always concerns me deeply.
If you see what I see every week in terms of the carnage that occurs on the highways, you will want to be more protected—not less. I know that there’s an argument that those on a motorcycle who don’t have a helmet on take themselves out of the breeding population in some type of twisted Darwinian way. That argument is both unfeeling, and it ignores the fact that if the person is maimed and brain-damaged, it will be the taxpayers who support him for the rest of his life, so it is not a zero-sum game. Every action by one human being affects the other human beings around you.
Volvo is boasting that they will have death proof cars by just 3 1/2 years from now. Cars where a driver of the vehicle will not die in an accident ever again. I don’t know if they’re going to be able to pull that off or not. I suspect, being a lawyer, that there’s a lot of fine print buried somewhere in the contract with a little asterisk. You know what they say, “The large print giveth and the fine print taketh away.”
But even if their cars are essentially the safest things that they can make, there will still be accidents. We must take the steps that we can all take to make things safer around the house, and we can certainly insist on helmets for our kids when they’re on any type of motorized vehicle such as four-wheelers and motorcycles.
In future columns I’ll give you some tips for around your house that can potentially save someone from injury—and may also keep you from being sued.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
By David Peel