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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lawyers and Salt...

We probably all have them.  Lawyers on TV, radio and the internet advertising how they will get money for you because of an accident or injury.

Did you ever think about what sort of pollution and environmental harm this might be causing?

Let's take a look at the use of salt for ice.

I chose this because there are related reasons homes, businesses and governments use way too much salt.

Today if a bank or other institution owns property you will typically see commercial salting operations hitting their streets, roads, and sidewalks with a heavy dose of salt right after even a tiny amount of snow.  Why is this?

More than likely A) someone has sued them or someone they know in the recent past because of a slip, a  fall or other accident,  B) their insurance company (if they are a private busines) requires them to over salt these roads and sidewalks in order to prevent the possibility of accidents and subsequent suites, C) they have leases or other contracts requiring them to do this to protect their business partners, lessors, or other commercial interests.

If you're a government you over salt to prevent accidents - not because, as a government, your responsible for how people drive, but because you fear legal recourse for lawyers for accidents or deaths.

(Here's a link to this very topic.)

And what about all sorts of safety equipment, activities, fences, walls, and other lawsuit-driven safety nonsense you see every day?

Labels on ladders telling you they can tip over.

Labels on buckets and pails telling you a child might drown in them.

Too many street lights, lighted signs, and on and on and on.

Again, all of this costs our environment in terms of wasted electricity, wasted travel, wasted materials, wasted resources.

But, you say, these notices are important!  They save lives!  What would we do on slippery roads!

Well, let's see.

In the past there was much less salt usage, for example.  The consequences of this were that people who were doing the driving were responsible for traveling safely on icy roads.  Today its the borough, city or state who is responsible that you drive safely - thanks to lawsuits.

In the past if you fell of a ladder is was considered your fault - you should have been more careful because you knew ladders could tip over.  Not today - ladders tipping over is a wondrous experience for some - again thanks to lawsuits.

Responsibility for peoples behavior now rests with others and this is simply not fair and its ruining our country from an environmental standpoint.

I think its time that people stop and consider the consequences of this sort of nonsense.  Salt is polluting our drinking water.  But rather than simply accept that we are responsible for our own driving we instead slough this off to government.

How about simply putting up a sign that says "You Are Responsible for Your Own Driving on Icy Roads" and leaving the salt home.

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