The world was shocked and saddened by the death of Dan Wheldon, a popular Indy Car driver who was involved in a 15-car pileup at the Indy Car World Championships a few weeks ago. To some it's raised the question: should Indy Car racing be allowed, or is it just too dangerous for the drivers? It's a complicated question with no easy answer.
First, the most basic; how many have died? IndyCar, for example, has seen four fatalities since it was started in 1996, while the CART series which it split from has seen four fatalities since 1979. That doesn't sound great, and when held to government standards, the numbers don't look good.
The National Highway and Transportation Administration calculates fatalities per million miles driven, and if you do the math compared to the numbers of those involved, it means since 1979, Indy Car racers have driven 775,000 miles or so, meaning with eight fatalities that 10 drivers die per million miles driven; even the worst state in the Union for traffic fatalities, Montana, averages 2.12 fatalities per million miles driven. Still, in the history of Indy Car driving, more drivers have died off the track for other reasons than on it in a crash.
Of course, driving itself is unsafe: car accidents come in fourth, after heart disease, cancer, and stroke, as the way you're most likely to die, according to the National Safety Council. The flip-side of that, of course, is that Indy Car racing is a lot different from driving down to the store for a gallon of milk: it's contained, high-speed, and there are a lot of competitors in a small area.
Still, fatalities on the Indy Car circuits are rare compared to their rivals in stock car racing. NASCAR alone has had 52 fatal accidents since 1949, eight of those in the last decade and three in 2000. There have literally been 33% more fatalities at Daytona than all of Indy Car racing. This isn't to say NASCAR doesn't take safety seriously: it's worked hard to protect drivers and stop fatalities, in fact using safety technology well ahead of what's available to consumers. And it's worth noting the vast majority of tragedies among NASCAR drivers happen off the track and are often due to medical issues that have nothing to do with racing. But if we're discussing outlawing one, we should take a look at the other.
It's also worth looking at other sports fatalities: professional football has seen five in-game fatalities, professional baseball has seen three deaths during a game, and the NHL has seen two. Football and ice hockey also raise serious questions about injuries and player quality of life. While they may have fewer player deaths on the field, issues surrounding head injuries, broken limbs, and other health problems can haunt players for years and cut their lives short. While the data is still cursory, it's starting to look like football and hockey players are at far more health risk than any other sport...including motorsports.
In the end, it's simply this: motorsports are incredibly dangerous, but there isn't a single driver who gets into the seat unaware of the risks. Similarly, their league wants their drivers to be safe, and new safety technologies are being developed and incorporated almost daily into the vehicles that roll out onto the track. Millions of dollars are poured into making the sport as safe as possible. But no matter what they do, there is always going to be a risk, and it's up to the league, the drivers and the fans who pay for tickets and watch on television to decide what's acceptable.
Tags: indy car, dan wheldon, nascar, safeauto, safe auto, cheap insurance
The auto racing world is mourning the loss of one of its most talented drivers and charming personalities.
Dan Wheldon, the defending Indianapolis 500 champion, died in a crash during a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. The 33-year old Wheldon was involved in a multi-car pileup on the eleventh lap of the season finale for the IZOD racing circuit. Officials cancelled the remainder of the race after the crash.
Tributes from all across the globe have been pouring in to honor the British open-wheel racer. The first one came from his fellow Indy car drivers, who returned to the track a couple hours after the accident to drive in formation in a five-lap tribute to their fallen colleague. Many of the drivers had tears in their eyes during and after the tribute.
In addition to the words of condolence issued by members of the racing community, other high-profile individuals also expressed their sympathy either through statements or tweets. Celebrities such as basketball star LeBron James, soccer player Hope Solo, former baseball manager Tommy Lasorda, actress Alyssa Milano, TV personality Robin Leach, sportscaster Erin Andrews, and members of the rock band Motley Crue all openly mourned Wheldon's tragic death.
Two of the most heartfelt tributes came from Hollywood stars who also had ties to the racing world. Justin Timberlake, an acquaintance of the driver whose clothing line William Rast was a sponsor of Wheldon's racing team, offered his prayers and thoughts to the Briton's wife and two children. And Ashley Judd, who is married to Indy Car racer Dario Franchitti, referenced a John Donne poem in her statement of sorrow and support.
Naturally, people in Wheldon's home country of England are also grieving over the passing of their fellow countryman. His memory was celebrated by the likes of soccer star Wayne Rooney and golfer Ian Poulter. In addition, British broadcaster Sky Sports 2 aired a documentary on October 20 entitled Dan Wheldon: A Tribute which reflected on the life and achievements of the Emberton native.
But the sad death of Wheldon was a blow to everyday auto racing fans as well. A large number of them created a makeshift memorial for the Indy 500 champ at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Notes, flowers, checkered flags, and U.S. and British flags were displayed all over the track's main gate. Some even left half-gallon jugs of milk, which refers to the annual post-Indy 500 tradition of the champion drinking milk in the winner's circle.
We at SafeAuto also want to express our deepest regrets and heartfelt prayers to the family, friends, and colleagues of Dan Wheldon. He will forever be remembered as a skilled driver, a gregarious character, and a loving husband and father.
Tags: dan wheldon, auto racing, insurance, cheap insurance, safeauto, safe auto, indy car
Original material is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution.
Powered by BlogEngine.NET 18.104.22.168 Filter by APML
There are many bad drivers out there on the road. Play It Safe with helpful tips, articles, videos, and of course, examples of what not to do. Brought to you by SafeAuto Insurance Company.