Douglas Todd: Canada’s SUV addiction endangers our safety and climate
They’re now a common feature outside urban Canadian schools at drop-off and pickup time: Long queues of vehicles that are often as massive as rhinoceros. And about as intimidating.
Mild-mannered parents, grandparents and nannies sit behind the steering wheels of the sport utility vehicles — which are invariably spotless despite their brand names, which evoke aggression and the wilderness: Highlander, Rogue, Wrangler, Range Rover, Grand Cherokee, Bronco.
The vast majority of SUVs — which have in a decade overtaken the world, making up 55 per cent of all vehicles sold in Canada in the past year — look like they’ve never gone anywhere more difficult than a school, coffee shop or supermarket, despite their advertised “serious off-road capability.”
People feel safer when they drive SUVs, studies show. It explains why the behemoths are snapped up by drivers who can afford their gasoline demands and price tags, which for new large ones range from $60,000 to $100,000.
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