Don’t Feed The “Ban Driving” Trolls

They see me trolling...

Cars and the people who love them have taken a bit of a trolling in the last week, as autonomous car car firms and the people who love them become increasingly convinced that a sea change is in the offing. The trolling began with a Buzzfeed article that told car fans to “go f*ck a tailpipe” if they think their love of driving outweighs the moral obligation to reduce the 1.2 million lives that are lost each year in cars, and things took off from there. The latest salvo, from Fusion, argues that driving should be made illegal within 15 years. Though self-driving cars are unquestionably the most consequential challenge to face cars in their more than hundred years as a cornerstone of modern society, the conversation around this massive opportunity needs to become a lot more pragmatic and constructive if we’re going to make the most of it.

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Five Rules For Writing About Millennials And Cars

Go knock yourself out

Go knock yourself out

If you have read any of the big car blogs in the last year, you’ve doubtless endured at least a few pieces on the “Millennial Question.” The role of youth in the automotive culture has so thoroughly captured the attention of car writers, hardly a day goes by in which at least one blog doesn’t add something to the debate. And no wonder: America’s much-vaunted “love affair with the automobile” has long relied heavily on a strong association between the youthful desire for freedom and the mobility that cars provide. If, as the data clearly shows, kids are less likely to buy cars than they used to be, it’s not just the auto industry that stands to be impacted… the very character of American culture is at stake.

Unfortunately, these high stakes have led to a more emotionalized discourse on the subject but not a better one. As I mentioned in my last Blind Spot on the subject, the conversation seems stuck between Baby Boomers trying to blame/shame Millennials for “giving up on cars,” and Millennials blaming Boomers for bequeathing them an economy with far less opportunity.

Regardless of which side you want to blame, it’s important to understand how complex this issue is. In the spirit of improving the discourse, here are a few issues that every writer should consider before launching into this divisive and far-more-interesting-than-you’d-think-by-reading-most-of-the-stories-on-it topic.

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