The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
11 Points
The Contender
Mirza
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Road safety should not be compromised by the clothing preferences of the obese

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Mirza
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,856 times Debate No: 15663
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (10)
Votes (6)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Tragically, thousands of people are killed or injured every day in road traffic accidents: something must be done to enhance road safety, but what?

There is a simple measure that could be implemented tomorrow that could save lives, but the politicians have been reluctant to introduce it for fear of losing votes from the obese.

Please let me explain. Imagine you are driving down the street at a steady sixty miles per hour when you spot a pedestrian stepping into the road two hundred yards away. No need to slow down, you think, they will be safely across the road by time you get to there but, too late, you realise that the person is obese and, therefore, cannot walk very quickly, so you slam on the brakes, but you are still doing forty when the grossly overweight pedestrian collides with your car.

Now, the impact with 400lbs of sweating blubber at that speed would not only cause considerable damage to the car, but if the obese pedestrian came through the windscreen they could cause serious injury to the vehicle's occupants.

That's why the obese should be made to wear high visibility vests, and have flashing amber warning lights on their heads when they are out in public, as depicted in this picture: http://www.debate.org...

Obviously, some fashion-conscious fat people may object to being forced to wear the vest and light because they don't think that sort of gear is very trendy, but, at the end of the day, road safety must come first and it should not be compromised by the clothing preferences of the grossly overweight.

Thank you.
Mirza

Con

Thank you, Brian. I look forward to a quality debate.

1. Generalization

My opponent makes a hasty generalization against obese people. There is no truth in the theory that obese people cannot walk very quickly. There are different levels of obesity, and different people whom these levels apply to. Some obese people are rather energetic. Unless Pro can prove that it is reasonable to generalize obese people this way, his disputation of the abilities of obese people should be dropped.

2. Not only the obese

I wish to add that there are too many people who cannot cross the road quickly. My personal experience does not suggest that obese people are even the majority. It is far easier and more correct to generalize the elderly in this case. Many of them, especially old ladies, walk fairly slowly over the road. Children who are obsessed with using their cell phones also tend to walk not only slowly across the world, but also by being distracted. The physically disabled might also be prone to walking slowly across the world. Should we force all of these people to wear visibility vests? If so, how do we distinguish between the levels of disability in order for us to decide who should wear what?

3. Personal responsibility

How to drive safely is a personal responsibility of yours. Other people should not be held accountable for the fact that you might not be able to figure out how quickly they can cross the road. Certain places are filled with drunk people. If you wish to pass by, then you have a personal responsibility to figure out how fast you should walk amongst all these people in order not to collide with them. If you are near a schoolyard, it is not a burden for the children to figure out how visible they should be to you or how fast you should walk. You, knowing that the place you enter is filled with children, are to take responsibility.

Unless you are forced to drive, you simply have the moral responsibility in your own hands. It is not for the obese to display themselves clearly to you, because even with visibility vests, there is no guarantee that you will see them, or that you will slow down if you actually do see them.

4. Statistics

I admit that obese people are more likely to die in a car crash, which seems to be a confirmed fact by various studies. "People who are obese but not morbidly obese (and so have a BMI of between 35 and 39) are about 20% more likely to die in a car crash than someone of average weight."[1] However, it does not help my opponent's case in this debate. While obese people are more likely to die in an auto crash, the studies point toward the obese people who drive, not the obese people who are hit by other cars. The scenarios are dissimilar. Nonetheless, the same source mentions that underweight people should not ignore these studies either.

5. Functionality of the visibility vest

You cannot guarantee that the visibility vest will make a driver more aware of the potential dangers of not slowing down enough to avoid colliding with an obese person. Key questions should be asked: what if the driver has a narrow sight? What if the driver has a slow response time due to fatigue? What if the driver is intoxicated? It is hard to determine how well a visibility vest will work. Road workers wear them, but there is more in what makes you pay attention to them than mere visibility vests. The loud sounds of their machines and their big vehicles are partially contributing to noticing them.

Obese people are more visible and the elderly and the children. I do not think Pro disputes that. The risk of crashing into those people is therefore higher. Due to this, it is unreasonable to force obese people only to wear specific clothes, especially when the main responsibility belongs to the drivers. Furthermore, I am fairly confident in saying that during nighttime, you risk colliding with a black person more than you risk colliding with an obese person at random times. For one, there are more (any weight) black people than obese people of any color. Two, it can be hard to see dark color during night, which makes it easier to hit a road-crossing black person. Do you want to force black people to wear specific clothes during nighttime?

6. Discrimination

Obese people should have the same rights as other people, unless their usage of rights harm others. It is highly discriminatory to impose something on obese people only, because there is no logical basis for it. If you want to minimize dangers for the drivers, then targeting obese people only, or obese people mainly, is illogical. Moreover, how do you distinguish between people? Surely, a person with a BMI of 35 is most probably considered obese by most people. But if the BMI is significantly lower, the person might look obese, but not necessarily be so. Would a law on targeting obese people not be very vague and subjective, besides being discriminatory and unnecessary?

To conclude, obese people should not be treated differently in this manner, and there is no need for a law that violates personal freedom in such an unnecessary way. If Pro can give statistics or studies that help his case, rather than only giving his own opinion, I would be delighted to analyze them.

| Reference |

[1] http://hubpages.com...
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I would like to thank Mirza for accepting this debate and should like to respond as follows:

1 – Generalizations
----------------------

When debating, it is best to avoid generalisations but, because I didn't do any research, I had no choice on this occasion. Nevertheless, I don't think I need remind the voters that Newton's laws of motion dictate that an obese person would, on average, walk slower than a normal person or to provide them with sources to prove that no obese person has ever won an Olympic medal in a running event.

2 – Not only the obese
--------------------------

It is true that not only the obese are at increased risk on the streets, and that's why schoolchildren are made to wear high visibility vests: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk... and why so many physically-disadvantaged people do also: http://www.fotolibra.com...

And it's not little kiddies and the handicapped that wear high-visibility gear to prevent road accidents - in Spain, prostitutes do too. http://www.mirror.co.uk...

So why should we continue to allow the obese to cause a danger to traffic?

3 – Personal responsibility
------------------------------

True, motorists are personally responsible for driving safely, but pedestrians have an equal responsibility to make sure they do not pose a danger to the traffic. By not warning drivers that a wide load is crossing the road by refusing to wear a high visibility vest and a flashing warning light on their heads, the obese are ducking their responsibilities.

4 – Statistics
---------------

It is true that "Fat drivers (are) more at risk of road accidents". One of the reasons is that they can't concentrate as well as normal people because of a weight-related sleeping disorder. http://www.dailymail.co.uk...

This same lack of concentration put the obese at extra risk because not only will they walk across the road slowly but they are less likely to check it is safe to cross to get from McDonalds to KFC in the first place.

5 - Functionality of the visibility vest
-----------------------------------------

If drivers have poor eyesight or are drunk or are tired or are high on crack, they should not be behind the wheel of a car, so this argument is a non-starter and, as far as black people not being visible at night is concerned, this is not too much of a problem as black people about to be hit by a car can quickly run out of the way: that's because unlike the obese; black people are hugely successful in Olympic running events.

6 – Discrimination
---------------------

My proposed measure would not only protect motorists but would also help the obese at the same time. Even though the obese have a lot of padding, it is probably still quite painful for them when they get run over.
And, as we have already established, they are not the only ones to have to make themselves visible to be safe.

In conclusion, this proposal is not intended to ridicule or humiliate the obese by making them wear unfashionable clothes and orange flashing lights on the heads: no; this is an attempt to enhance road safety by reducing the number of collisions between vehicles and grossly overweight people and I, therefore, urge you to vote Pro.

Thank you.
Mirza

Con

My pleasure.

1. Generalization

Pay attention to how Brian admitted that he did not do any research on this topic. Not minor, not moderate, but absolutely no research. That is fine. But, you cannot create contrast in statistics, bring pre-argumental evidence and opinions from experts, and have consistent and logically bound arguments without doing research and confirming or at least enhancing your hypotheses, which are the basis for your arguments.

Brian does not help himself very much by coming with what is called an irrelevant conclusion. Obese people have not won olympic medals in running events, therefore we can generalize obese people in all situations. But the fact is, we cannot generalize their abilities in all situations because the example of winning an olympic medal in running events applies only within the boundaries of the example itself.

2. Not only the obese

Brian pointed out that there are other people who are obligated to wear visibility vests. Correct, but that is totally irrelevant to my point. For one, Brian's sources speak of different countries. Two, as a pre-set response to Brian's question, I pointed out that forcing the obese to wear visibility vests would raise numerous questions, such as who is obese, where do we put the limits, and so on. Besides that, Brian showed no relevant statistics to us, which only further reflects my points that if the obese have to wear the vests, then we have to be fully aware of whether or not they pose a greater traffic danger than other people. I have not seen the evidence.

3. Personal responsibility

Pro conceded that motorists are personally responsible for driving safely. He moved on to say that the pedestrians have an equal responsibility within the limits of traffic. That sounds reasonable, but then again it goes off the example you gave. If the problem is the driver not slowing down, then the problem is the driver not slowing down. I said that many people do not walk quickly over the road, and Brian responded by saying that others (besides the obese) are forced to wear high visibility vests. Disregarding the irrelevance, I have to raise the question that if so many people cross the road slowly, then is it not a general truth, and not a specific problem? If it is a general truth, which evidence points toward, then the driver should slow down whenever he sees any kind of person instead of trying to figure out what the weight of the person is.

4. Statistics


Again Brian conceded that obese drivers are more at risk of road accidents, but once more he completely missed my point. The statistics were in favor of my case, not his. This debate is not about obese drivers, but rather obese pedestrians. And once again I see no relevant statistics from his side. Do obese pedestrians pose a greater traffic risk as pedestrians than other people? I do not think so. I would like to change my opinion on the matter if someone brings evidence, but Brian has not done so. In fact, I would like to further strengthen my argument about the driver's responsibility. According to various sources, the United Kingdom has over 50% of its population being overweight and a significant fraction being obese.[1] It is common sense that a person should be informed about this so that he can slow down in due time whenever he sees a person crossing the road, rather than forcing every obese person to wear something that is completely unnecessary.

5. Functionality of the visibility vest

Although Pro calls my argument a non-starter, I think he has no reasonable evidence for that. He said that drivers with poor eyesight or drunk drivers should not be behind the wheel at all. But, his argument is, by definition, self-defeating. A driver is one who drives a car, so whether he should have entered it in the first place or not is completely irrelevant to the argument I made. I do not think that it is needed to put forth statistics about drunk driving, in case people want evidence for its evils.

The example of black people at night is valid in itself. Although Brian responded saying that black people are able to run away in a dangerous situation, I still do not see how he can actually prove that. If it is night, and neither the driver nor the road-crossing black pedestrian have good awarenesses, then I do not see how that is somehow less risky than an obese person crossing the road at any random time. The fact is that both groups of people risk being hit by a car at random times, and forcing both to wear visibility vests would be more appropriate than forcing only the obese. But, then we have the problems I mentioned earlier, which makes the entire proposition irrational.

6. Discrimination, closing comments


I agree that this could help the obese and the traffic, but it could also help them if the obese got locked up in their homes and/or were only allowed to walk around their neighborhood. The fact is that neither propositions are reasonable.

I do not see evidence for Brian's claims. All he came with were his own opinions about the question at hand. There are too many overweight and obese people. Forcing the majority of the American population to wear high visibility vests would be illogical based on the fact that if so many people are obese, then any driver should know that he should slow down before a pedestrian.

Thank you too.

| Reference |

[1] http://www.annecollins.com...
Debate Round No. 2
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Brian, I want to debate with you about whether black people should be required to wear high visibility clothing during the night. You can take either side and I will take the opposite side. Are you interested?
Posted by CosmicAlfonzo 5 years ago
CosmicAlfonzo
This debate fails, because Brian thinks that a 400 lb person would be out walking.

ho ho ho
Posted by Amnesiac 5 years ago
Amnesiac
Holy sh!t, this is the funniest thing I have ever read!
Posted by Pastafarian 5 years ago
Pastafarian
Hey you should take PCH north of LA for example.. It's a 4 laned road where everyone drives 80-90 mph and there's a crosswalk in the middle of the street. So far no one got hit-- but eventually someone will!
Posted by morrdor 5 years ago
morrdor
Also, if you are driving down the road at 60 MPH and see a pedestrian walking across the road you should slow down anyway. If you do not, then you are an irresponsible driver, and is your own fault if you hit an obese person, and not theirs.
Posted by morrdor 5 years ago
morrdor
No way pro can win, and this is both offensive and ridiculous .
Posted by Extremely-Far-Right 5 years ago
Extremely-Far-Right
This is a really weird debate...
Posted by Heathen 5 years ago
Heathen
I honestly see no way Pro could win this.
Posted by Mirza 5 years ago
Mirza
In my second argument, I wrote "walking across the world." I meant "road."
Posted by gerrandesquire 5 years ago
gerrandesquire
Sh!t. I actually read the whole resolution and was about to click accept debate, when I noticed it had already been accepted. All of Brians debate just slip out of my hands.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Zyanya 5 years ago
Zyanya
brian_egglestonMirzaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I felt that Mirza did a better job of arguing her point and that Brian_egglestons responses to Mirzas statement did not in fact prove her comments to be false.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 5 years ago
Chrysippus
brian_egglestonMirzaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I think they balanced each other out; Con completely serious, Pro possibly on something while writing. The only point that clearly ought to belong to one or the other is sources, which Brian won easily.
Vote Placed by Heathen 5 years ago
Heathen
brian_egglestonMirzaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro just seemed to be basing everything off of his own feelings towards things while Con used evidence.
Vote Placed by hauki20 5 years ago
hauki20
brian_egglestonMirzaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: munis
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
brian_egglestonMirzaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Brian's argument about Newton's Law was huge, it was what showed that obese people are indeed different due to walking slowly. Con had no response to it. Therefore pro accesses safety impacts. Conduct pro because, no offense, con had no sense of humor and took this debate way to seriously. Its obviously supposed to be humorous, it should be treated that way.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
brian_egglestonMirzaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "as far as black people not being visible at night is concerned, this is not too much of a problem as black people about to be hit by a car can quickly run out of the way: that's because unlike the obese; black people are hugely successful in Olympic running events" especially when the prize is kfc