Reader Mail, 11/21

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Regarding "what would Jesus drive" I like to answer that question. Jesus would drive a pickup truck probobly a four wheel drive one and a club cab too boot. Why do I say this. Jesus was as your friend stated a carpenter, well in His days a carpenter not oly worked with wood He also worked with stone. The foundation of a house was layed down in large stone blocks, some as much as 200 pounds in weight. Well anyway He would have to carry around a lot of tools so there would probobly be at least one large tool box in the bed, there may be a cap on the bed or just a set of ladder racks. He would need a club cab because any good carpenter had apprentices and Jesus would have been the best. So the club cab to carry his crew around from job to job. Also He probobly would have a heavy duty trailer pulled behind the truck for hauling building supplies, sand, gravel, stone, boards. And a four wheel drive, after all Jesus would often go out in the dessert alone to pray......

J. Tedeski

So Abel would drive the PT Cruiser?

What Would Jesus Drive? The more I think about it, the only car Jesus would drive would be an SUV. Let's say you want to make a weekend trip to Jerusalem with 12 of your best friends. 13 guys, you probably want a Ford Excursion, a Suburban, or a Hummer. SUVs are popular with fisherman. And if you're a carpenter, they're good for getting supplies to your work site. There weren't many paved roads between Nazereth and Jerusalem, so we're talking an off-road vehicle. It's over the busy Passover weekend, so you want something that can get you through crowds. And having an SUV would save him the effort of dragging that cross through town. He'd be the first one to Calvary. With the heat in the Holy Land, you might want a diesel. They work better with the AC on during a 100 degree day. I think Moses would drive an SUV as well. After parting the Red Sea, it's probably pretty muddy, so you'll want 4-wheel drive. Solomon was big with the babes, he would probably drive a Ferrari. Abraham might drive a sub-compact. He had a small family. Methusaleh probably drove a Volvo, they last forever.

C. Fischer

Jesus didn't worry about safety!

Very good article today on the SUV's impact on the environment. I think the debate over SUVs has become more of a symbolic issue rather than a factual one. Unfortunately the SUV bias seems to be getting stronger in general. I was disappointed that the latest research you were able to reference in your article was from 1997. There was a study published back in August:

Researchers at the University of Michigan and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that SUVs are just about the most dangerous cars on the road for all drivers - a not-so-surprising conclusion considering the size of the vehicles and the impact they have on smaller vehicles in a crash, Reuters reported.

This came from on August 29, 2002. I was not able to access the text of the article anymore, however I remember it fairly well and it made some interesting points:

1) It noted that SUV were not necessarily any safer for their occupants than similarly sized cars or minivans, due to the slightly higher roll-over risk and the added risk these types of crashes posed for unbelted drivers (emphasis added)

2) Some smaller cars were in fact safer for their occupants than some sport utility vehicles, the differences apparently due to better design.

The scary-sounding headline of the news blurb indicates the conclusion you are intended to come away with, however two other conclusions could be drawn from this as well:

1) Given the lack of any evidence presented to indicate that SUV drivers are less likely to wear seat belts than car or minivan drivers, one would suppose that for a belted driver an SUV should be safer than a car, if the only factor that made their safety equivalent was a greater risk for unbelted drivers (roll-over risk, by basic physics a greater risk for high center of gravity vehicles like trucks and SUVs, apparently alone is not enough of a safety hazard for belted in passengers to outweigh the safety benefits an SUV may confer in other types of crashes); and

2) A better way to make the roads safer for everyone would be to improve the design of the smaller vehicles. If some smaller vehicles can be as crashworthy or better than some SUVs, it would stand to reason that better engineered small cars would reduce the apparent 'kill ratio' of sport utes against cars without depriving consumers of either vehicle type choice.

The study brought about both its points in relation to a seeming refutation of the 'mass = safety' argument. It is true that better car design (and we are looking at 13 years of additional car development being reflected in the numbers today than in 1989) may have reduced the meaningfulness of this conclusion. Advances in materials and in computer modelling of crashes have gone a long way towards making cars that are both strong and light. However these very same advances are going to have the effect of reducing the significance of this issue.

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