Ben Bartosik

February 15, 2024

"For decades, society tolerated — even encouraged — public smoking. But then a growing awareness around public health risks associated with secondhand smoke, combined with harsher government regulations, led to a shift in public perception. The same could eventually hold true for driving."

From a 2023 article that provides a bit of a scientific basis for the notion of car-brain, or 'motonormativity' as it is referred to in the study referenced. The core idea here is that people are less tolerant of bad behaviour that doesn't involve a car. The challenge, according to the article, is that we don't currently look at driving through a public health lens. However, this seems to be changing, albeit slowly.

It's something I think about often as I walk my kids past all the idling vehicles in the school kiss-and-ride. The very narrow sidewalk runs parallel with the car entrance with no buffer and a property fence on the other side. So we are forced to breathe in all the exhaust fumes and tire particles. Imagine us being okay with an equivalent line of people smoking cigarettes in front of a school every day. We simply wouldn't. And that's the key point because despite immense lobbying and money, society can and does change.