Deaths from car collisions decreased from 2011 to 2012 by 2.6%. Total car crash-related deaths dropped by almost 10,000 from 2002 to 2012. There are a myriad of factors influencing that number, but one of those factors has been the improved mechanical competence of the average American motorist.
Which means that NPR’s Car Talk, in some small way, helped save people’s lives with their approachable authority and their raucous laughter, on top of increasing general awareness of the various puns a person could make with names (“We would like to thank Pickup N. Dropov, our Russian chauffeur,” was a personal favorite).
Tom Magliozzi, one half of the Car Talk’s automobile docents Click and Clack Tappet, has died from complications with Alzheimer’s. It’s a sad passing, and our sympathy goes out to the Magliozzi family. Car Talk was a force within the media.
Tom and Ray (Click and Clack) grew up in a tough Massachusetts neighborhood. They became engineers after graduating from MIT, but Tom changed his life dramatically when he was involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer. That accident eventually led to Car Talk. An essay by Claude J. Smith Jr in the journal Studies in Popular Culture described Car Talk like this:
“Tom and Ray help reduce anxiety in the yuppie segment of the automobile public by enthusiastically dispensing auto lore with large dollops of humor, showing that auto-misery is a universal of American life but that through rational inquiry and deductive logic, most car problems are solvable, and through educated awareness, many cases of auto grief are preventable.”
Or, to rephrase that paragraph, the whole goal of their program was to help smart people navigate a field that they may not have any experience in—a goal that the Davis Law Group shares. The time after a car accident is deeply confusing and unsettling. We’re here to help you through that.