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Thursday’s Headlines: American Carnage Edition

America's anger problem is fueling its deadly driving problem. Plus more news.

12:00 AM EST on January 11, 2024

Carnage on Bay Parkway. File Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

America's anger problem is fueling its deadly driving problem.

That's one key conclusion from writer Matthew Shaer in a piece set to run in this weekend's New York Times Magazine, which the paper posted online on Wednesday.

Shaer runs through statistics and phenomena Streetsblog readers know well — the recent national uptick in traffic deaths, fueled by COVID; the impact of smart phones and bad road design; the reluctance of certain states and municipalities to embrace automated camera enforcement.

But the most interesting, and novel, argument Shaer makes is about driver aggression — that getting behind the wheel of car or truck makes the normal person a jerk and a jerk an asshole.

“Imagine a time when someone has been aggressive to you,” one researched is quoted as saying. “Most often people will brush it off and say don’t worry about it, or I’m not going to get involved, but if you’re running late or have a stressful meeting to attend, and someone is rude to you then, you might react with aggression or anger directed at them, or at the next driver who does something. That next driver might also react in some way, perhaps becoming anxious and changing their driving.”

Put succinctly: "Bad behavior is contagious."

In other news:

  • The MTA experienced its second subway derailment in less than a week, and third in the last month. What's going on over there? (Daily News, Gothamist, NY Post, NY Times)
  • NYCT Prez. Richard Davey: “Derailments do happen — they shouldn’t, but they do from time to time... We’ll take a look to see what the issue was here, but customers should feel safe taking the service.” (The City)
  • TikTok has already figured out how to cheat the MTA's new "anti-fare evasion" turnstiles. (NY Post)
  • Hell Gate dug into Eater NY's recent fear-mongering about congestion pricing's impact on Manhattan restaurants. (Hint: It's negligible.)
  • City Hall found money to reverse budget cuts, but only at NYPD and FDNY. (Politico, NY Times, NY1)
  • Mayor Adams stars in a new Netflix documentary about healthy eating. (Vice)
  • More on the judge forced to recuse himself from New Jersey's suit against congestion pricing. (NJ Monitor)

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