HSH Book Club: Angie Schmitt’s Right of Way

May 18, 2021

For the latest edition of the HSH Book Club, we wanted to read a book that dovetailed with some of the conversations that employees at our firm have been having about how diversity, equity, and inclusion relate to our industry. Angie Schmitt’s Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America was a perfect fit. She draws the reader in with heartbreaking stories of fatal pedestrian crashes from across the country – mothers, fathers, children, friends, just people attempting to cross the street and losing their lives – while supporting her argument with alarming statistics on the pedestrian death toll, the slim likelihood that a fatal crash will result in a design change or even an arrest of the driver, and the increasing danger caused by Americans’ obsession with bigger and bigger SUVs.

Piece by piece, she lays out her case for how our automobile-centric society plans, designs, and enforces a transportation system that is inherently dangerous to pedestrians throughout most of the country and how those in greatest danger are often those who are already most vulnerable due to racial and economic class inequities. Like the image Ms. Schmitt shows of seventeen children sitting in the forward blind spot of a 2011 Chevy Tahoe, this read will stick with you, which is what makes it even more powerful.

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