It appears, however, that little has changed in regard to road safety in 55 years. I came across this article titled, “Sin at the Wheel” in the December 1955 Presbyterian weekly magazine, the Outlook. It opens with a question. “Why is it that our churches are so silent on the subject of the slaughter which continues day by day on the roads of our land?” (It also includes a photo of a crashed car, one of several held in our collection. )
The article places the blame fairly and squarely at “the sin of the human heart” and suggests that carelessness in driving should be recognised and “dealt with as alcoholism, gambling and other community evils.”
We learn from the stats given that for every two deaths in the USA, there are three in New Zealand and in 1954 we discover that 360 people were killed and “over 8000 so seriously injured that the police were notified, which means that every year we have a calamity more than twice as serious as the Napier earthquake.” What’s more it is pointed out that “25% of the accidents involved people who had been driving for 20 years or more”. Sounds so familar doesn’t it?
The writer concludes in the rhetoric of the 50’s that we require to be “acutely conscious that a man plus a machine is not God… A Christian is challenged to humility on the road, turning the other cheek…[and] to overcome pride and resentments on the road.”