On the local news last night, there was a story about these stickers making their debut on the rear ends of SUV's in New Orleans for what seems to be the first time. I was pretty excited about it, for like most cities these days, New Orleans has become a mecca for SUV's and the mind set that goes with them. It made me happy and interested in finally piloting my own idea
On the way out to Biloxi for a break from the increasing heat, Byzantine and I passed many of what I would consider legitmate uses for SUV's on the highway. They were pulling boats, trailers with wave runners and jet skis, etc. If you're rich enough to have those kinds of toys (or need them for your livelihood, as trolling is very necessary around here) AND a truck is simply not big enough for your MULTIPLE kids, I understand that safety plays a factor, especially if you're prone to long road trips.
But again, as the above noder stated, it seems rarer to have good cause for these vehicles. Even news reporters and representatives of both sides now debating our energy crises have mentioned SUV's in a shoddy, disappointed light. But what did we expect? This is America.
When I went to college in Lynchburg, VA, we were not allowed to live off campus until our senior year, unless we could legitimize why we needed off campus accomodations, i.e., medical reasons. My boyfriend at the time, who was becoming a senior while I was still a junior, tried to appeal on our desire to live together off-campus, by telling the dean we expected to get married (which we never did). He said that that was fine, that all we had to do was provide a marriage license and I could leave. Whether we thought the rules were fair or not, we were subject to them. By contrast, there are no real rules as to what kind or size of vehicle you can buy, and it's a shame that there isn't more accountability on behalf of the consumer. This branches to all forms, not just vehicle purchasing.
If we were required by any industry to legitimize our purchases, the economy we seem to adore would crumble as people would continue to fail in their attempts. There would have to be a standard to SUV's, and "I want to feel safer, I want lots of room" is not good enough. By using this as what seems to be the popular excuse people have given me, they are donating to an existing problem on our roads. The source goes deeper than safety. By increasing the size of our bodies on the road for our own comfort, we show no concern for the millions of smaller vehicles that have now been forced to live almost exclusively in our blind spots. When I worked in a body shop for a Ford dealership, I heard countless reports of SUV owners whose vehicles were struck by cars the drivers "didn't even see." It was rare that I was able to fix any car that an SUV hit that wasn't the same size or height. I knew then that this would get even worse.
It is true that most people that drive these things do not need to be, but that is not the motto of America. If people want to speak out, they are forced to do so through civil disobedience. Slapping these stickers on SUV's will not force anyone to trade them in, but it may, for a moment, force them to think about what it is they've done, though even that much thought is pretty optimistic. Most people will see it as an intrusion to their rights, scoff at it, peel it off, and go back to their soccer mom/grocery store existence.
Still, these things are worth doing, if only for the guilty party's temporary glee. In a country where everyone has access to fame on some base level, this sort of fame is allowed as well.