In the weeks after the attacks of September 11, 2001, many thousands of Americans took to the roads and highways in lieu of flight. Some opted to drive because their vacation or business air travel was cancelled; others because they were understandably afraid of subsequent hijackings.
Article by Peter C. Earle from AIER.
Some years later, a group of Cornell University economists determined that after the terror attacks,
in the last three months of  fear of flying revved up car use and caused a second toll of lives in US roads. In addition, the inconvenience of tighter airport security after 9/11 may have further encouraged substitution to road travel.
It’s tragic, but unsurprising: one would generally expect that with a sudden jump in the number of vehicles on the road, a commensurate increase in accidents would be observed. And indeed, that is what the researchers found even after taking into account “time trends, weather, road conditions, and other factors.” The additional death toll on highways as a secondary effect of the terror attacks numbered over 2,000, with many non-fatal injuries as well.
But as initially reported in early 2021 and presently congealing with additional data, the opposite is also true. Despite having driven much less owing to lockdowns–staying at home out of fear, or simply because there were less places to go and fewer things to do–the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that over 42,000 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents in 2020.
That’s 8% more than the previous year. It’s also the highest death toll since 2007, and the first increase in four years. Worse yet, the rate of fatalities per 100 million driven miles (a normalized measure) in 2020 leapt 24% from the previous year, which is the largest annual increase since statistics began being tracked in 1924.
I myself recall vehicles flying by me on the highways last spring, passing other motorists on both the left and right shoulders, and driving over grass medians. A friend told me that one afternoon she was passed on the right by a motorcycle doing a wheelie at vastly in excess of 80 miles per hour. Throughout the first half of 2020, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets seemed to evince a consistent buzz regarding the emergence of Mad Max-like driving conditions on American roads and highways.
But first: are these simply individual anecdotes? It does not appear so. Consider this June 2020 article from Fast Company, which presented conclusive data gathered from 23 million anonymized drivers:
[T]here are still fewer people on the roads than in January, so there are less accidents overall. But people are driving faster than they were before COVID-19. In fact, people are driving over 100 miles per hour 20% more often than pre-COVID-19. And accidents, when they do occur, are happening at faster speeds—a full 50% faster than usual[.]
(Although informative, the title of the article is classic Covid-era punditry: “It’s Not Just You. The Pandemic Has Made Drivers More Reckless.” There is no physiological link, ceteris paribus, between infection and an increased propensity to imperil oneself. The connection between lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, business closures and so on, meanwhile, are documented and growing.)
Individual state data confirm this. Even with a precipitous drop in total drivers, Minnesota state troopers wrote twice the number of speeding tickets for speeds exceeding 100 MPH in 2020 than in 2019. In Tucson, AZ, by July of 2020 fatal motor vehicle accidents had more than tripled, mostly between March and May when stay-at-home orders were initially imposed. In the roughly two months after California ordered lockdowns, minor crashes decreased by just under 30%, but severe, fatal injuries increased by 15%.
Inrix, a driving data analytics firm, indicates that in urban areas average speeds increased by 35% last year. So the data, national and local, aligns closely with unofficial reports. So why did accidents rise as drivers left roads en masse?
An initial hypothesis was that the leap in driving accidents and deaths occurred as nonpharmaceutical interventions were being dialed back. In other words, in the late summer and early fall of 2020, having lost all of spring and early summer, Americans surged back onto roadways with aplomb and, consequently, recklessness. But this is disproven by National Safety Council data as well, which shows that in April 2020, when state and Federal pandemic policies were both at their strictest and most widespread that the number of total miles driven on US highways had dropped by a whopping 40%, yet a 36% surge in fatalities on a per-mile basis occurred.
Another hypothesis is that people willing to leave their homes during a pandemic are likely risk takers anyway, and should thus be expected to create unsafe road conditions. But while there may be a grain of truth to this, this explanation mostly revels in spuriousness. Reasons to leave one’s home during a pandemic are innumerable, whether quarantines/lockdowns are imposed, recommended, or nonexistent.
The fact that police were reluctant to stop all but the most flagrant speeders during the spring of 2020 (“Don’t pull anyone over unless you have to.”) factors in as well.
Driving as Pressure Release
In places where the pandemic responses were even more stringent, analyses of the instinct to get behind the wheel were proportionally incisive. In Australia, which has been a veritable fount of Covid-19 overreaction (to this very day), the initial bundle of nonpharmaceutical interventions included a ban on “nonessential drives.” As an Australian editorial opined,
You may have heard that police across Australia are starting to crack down on people ‘blatantly going for a drive.’ They’re handing out insane fines varying between $1300 and $1600…all because a driver was in their car and driving without a valid destination. Let’s just put this in perspective for a second. Right now in our country if you go for a drive without a destination deemed essential, police have the authority to fine you an obscene amount of money. That’s even if you never get out of your car, which means the chances of being exposed to another human or the Coronavirus are infinitesimally small. Adding an extra dimension to why this is completely absurd, consider [that] you can go out for exercise to maintain your physical state with one other person…But you can’t go for a drive – even on your own.
The writer continued: “At a time where coffee shops, clubs, bars and essentially all social venues and outings are banned…these drives are absolutely essential to our mental health.”
Driving anywhere is foremost an individual act of conveyance. In life and art it represents freedom, choice, or escape. Decades after America’s auto production supremacy, with more complicated lives and more sophisticated distractions, getting behind the wheel for any amount of time remains an act of personal independence.
A destination-free drive is for many a liberating experience. Yes, it’s frankly stupid to drive 100 MPH, weave aggressively in and out of traffic, and otherwise put oneself and others at risk. But the expectation that human beings would sit at home idle, unemployed, in some cases alone, completely satisfied by current video streaming options or dusty ‘70s board games, is the type of lunacy only a tax-fed bureaucrat could conjure.
Policies tend to be about the quickest, most direct route to an outcome. Human life–and in particular modern life, of which driving is a major component–is about the journey. That individuals who may have been approaching their wit’s end would get back on the road to capture a shred of pre-pandemic normalcy is unsurprising. Also predictable is that some would, unwisely, take advantage of less congestion.
And in case this seems like a sentimental take, without economic implications: the cost of fatal and otherwise severe accidents in 2020, the cascade of which occurred during lockdowns, is estimated at $474 billion. And with almost 5 million injuries stemming from those accidents, there are additional, unseen costs: livelihoods inexorably altered due to lost transportation and serious injuries. Higher insurance costs. And all of those costs collide with higher auto repair costs, which in turn are being caused by supply chains desperately struggling to regain their pre-pandemic capacities.
More traffic on the road: more accidents. Less traffic on the road: more accidents. The circumstances surrounding each are different, of course, but vindicate the contention that everything around us, every facet of our networked, interactive existences, is precariously balanced. Perturbations, large or small, and whether deriving from natural or manmade interposings may and do lead to upheaval. The social fabric is pervasive but shockingly attenuated, and there are inevitable human and economic costs to deranging it.
New Conservative Network Seeks Crowdfunding Help
They say we have to go big or go home. We’re trying to go big and bring the patriotic truth the the nation, but we need help.
Readers may or may not realize that over the past year, we’ve been bringing more conservative news and opinion outlets under our wing. Don’t take our expansion as a sign of riches; all of the “acquisitions” have been through sweat and promises of greater things to come for all involved. As a result, we’ve been able to bring together several independent media sites under a unified vision of preventing America from succumbing to the progressive, “woke,” Neo-Marxist ideologies that are spreading like wildfire across America.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $3000-$7000 per month. In other words, we’re in the red and hemorrhaging.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring the truth to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going.
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Most “Conservative” News Outlets Are on the Big Tech Teat
Not long ago, conservative media was not beholden to anyone. Today, most sites are stuck on the Big Tech gravy train.
I’ll keep this short. The rise of Pandemic Panic Theater, massive voter fraud, and other “taboo” topics have neutered a majority of conservative news sites. You’ll notice they are very careful about what topics they tackle. Sure, they’ll attack Critical Race Theory, Antifa, and the Biden-Harris regime, but you won’t see them going after George Soros, Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum, or the Deep State, among others.
The reason is simple. They are beholden to Big Tech, and Big Tech doesn’t allow certain topics to be discussed or they’ll cut you off. Far too many conservative news outlets rely on Google, Facebook, and Twitter for the bulk of their traffic. They depend on big checks from Google ads to keep the sites running. I don’t necessarily hold it against them. We all do what we need to do to survive. I just wish more would do like we have, which is to cut out Big Tech altogether.
We don’t get Google checks. We don’t have Facebook or Twitter buttons on our stories. We don’t have a YouTube Channel (banned), an Instagram profile (never made one), or a TikTok (no thanks, CCP). We’re not perfect, but we’re doing everything we can to not owe anything to anyone… other than our readers. We owe YOU the truth. We owe YOU the facts that others won’t reveal about topics that others won’t tackle. And we owe America, this great land that allows us to take hold of these opportunities.
Like I said, I don’t hold other conservative sites under too much scrutiny over their choices. It’s easy for people to point fingers when we’re not the ones paying their bills or supporting their families. I just wish there were more who would make the bold move. Today, only a handful of other major conservative news outlets have broken free from the Big Tech teat. Of course, we need help.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring proper news and opinions to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal or Bitcoin as well. Bitcoin: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
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We are also building partnerships with great conservative sites like The Liberty Daily and The Epoch Times to advance the message as loudly as possible, and we’re always looking for others with which to partner.
Some of our content is spread across multiple sites. Other pieces of content are unique. We write most of what we post but we also draw from those willing to allow us to share their quality articles, videos, and podcasts. We collect the best content from fellow conservative sites that give us permission to republish them. We’re not ego-driven; I’d much rather post a properly attributed story written by experts like Dr. Joseph Mercola or Natural News than rewrite it like so many outlets like to do. We’re not here to take credit. We’re here to spread the truth.
While donations are the best way to help, you can also support us by buying through our sponsors:
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We know we could make a lot more money if we sold out like so many “conservative” publications out there. You won’t find Google ads on our site for a reason. Yes, they’re lucrative, but I don’t like getting paid by minions of Satan (I don’t like Google very much if you couldn’t tell).
Time is short. As the world spirals towards The Great Reset, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going. Our promise is this: We will never sell out America. If that means we’re going to struggle for a while or even indefinitely, so be it. Integrity first. Truth first. America first.
Thank you and God Bless,