Texas Perspectives

To Help Solve Gun Violence, Look to Transportation As An Example


As yet another school shooting leads to predictable political debates, it seems like gun violence is a problem Americans will never solve. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Gun safety is not a threat to the Second Amendment, and there is a road forward we can take that’s tried and true. 

We need to look at the successful history of improving transportation safety as a model. Transportation used to be a major killer. More than 50,000 people died annually in the U.S. in the 1970s from motor vehicle accidents, and it seemed like there was no solution. But society stepped up, and the results have been dramatic: Deaths are down 20% since 1980 even though population has grown by 100 million people and Americans are driving twice as many miles, up from 1.5 to 3 trillion vehicle miles annually  

The solution was to transcend political entrenchment and tackle road safety with every tool imaginable. 

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Michael E. Webber is a professor of mechanical engineering who studies energy and transportation at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Texas Perspectives is a wire-style service produced by The University of Texas at Austin that is intended to provide media outlets with meaningful and thoughtful opinion columns (op-eds) on a variety of topics and current events. Authors are faculty members and staffers at UT Austin who work with University Communications to craft columns that adhere to journalistic best practices and Associated Press style guidelines. The University of Texas at Austin offers these opinion articles for publication at no charge. Columns appearing on the service and this webpage represent the views of the authors, not of The University of Texas at Austin.