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June 21, 2011

Speed

by JHW

Caveat:  I do not know the details of Ryan Dunn’s crash, nor do I wish to speculate or place judgment on the events surrounding his death.  I only seek to comment on the question regarding our ability to own high-speed vehicles for public road usage.  I sincerely wish Ryan Dunn’s family, friends and fans my condolences and mourn the loss of a fellow enthusiast.

Following the tragic coverage of Ryan Dunn’s fatal crash, I tuned into TMZ Live (daily at 1:30pm PST @ TMZ.com) and listened as the merits of high-speed capable consumer vehicles were discussed.  Given the nature of the incident, an excellent question was posed; “why are cars sold for public use that can go 190 mph”?  Aside from my own bias, I had a difficult time coming up with an immediate response.

Sure, there are technological answers… gearing, international use and the like – but in the end, these aren’t the best arguments in pleading our case as automotive enthusiasts.  No, I think it’s better to focus on the responsibility of the end user, and to urge drivers (of all cars) to exercise judgment when taking the wheel.  Cars, much like cigarettes, alcohol and firearms are sold to a public with the right to operate them at their discretion.  Sure, there will always be those who misuse each, but for those of us who are passionate about enthusiast automobiles, we have an added responsibility to keep our hobby safe.

All too often, auto buyers shop with their wallets, not their skill level.  With 6,000 lb SUV’s and 200+ mph sports cars on the market, this is a potentially dangerous proposition.  Driving a fast car does not mean driving a car fast.  The throttle pedal has modulation for a reason.  As firearm owners take their guns to the range, we have countless tracks on which to exercise our right foot in a controlled environment.  I hope that this tragic incident may at least serve as a (horrible) reminder to slow down on public roads.  Rest in peace Ryan

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