Should the 840 HP Dodge Demon Be Banned?

©. Dodge Demon

The respected Automotive News suggested this and all heck broke loose.

Here on TreeHugger we do have a tendency to complain about big gas guzzlers and talk a lot about the safety of people who walk and bike. I have even called for a slow car movement so that we could all drive little fuel efficient Isetta-style cars. I worry about drivers behind the wheel of Fast and Furious cars; they often don't know how to handle them. Years ago, these kinds of cars were known as Doctor Killers; Peter Cheney describes the Porsches of the time:

Once upon a time, the Porsche 911 was a hard car to drive well. The earliest 911s were known for front ends that got light at speed, and a tendency to spin if you mishandled the throttle on corners. This was a car that called for a master's touch. Unfortunately, many of those drawn to it had more money than skill – a conundrum that led to the car acquiring the nickname "The Doctor Killer."

Today they may not be doctors behind the wheel, but they still often have more money than skill. And today, they have the Dodge Demon, a car so overpowered that the editors at Automotive News, who never saw a car they didn't love, say that the 840 horsepower car is "so inherently dangerous to the common safety of motorists that its registration as a road-worthy automobile should be banned."

demon specs

Demon site/Screen capture

"From its barely legal slick tires to its monstrous acceleration, the Challenger Demon introduced in New York this month is the result of a sequence of misguided corporate choices that places bragging rights ahead of public safety. Laudably, the entire industry has made great strides toward improved vehicle safety in recent years, even as it dials up performance capabilities. But with the Demon, Dodge spits on that goal and irresponsibly moves in the opposite direction, knowingly placing motorists in danger in the process."

Not to mention the pedestrians and cyclists.

The comments on the editorial, to a man (and they are all men) are scathing, comparing it to taking away guns.

"When did Automotive News turn into a pack of shrieking little girls? Automotive freedom of choice should allow cars such as the Demon if the market demands them."

I did agree with this comment though.

"Yes, let's ban the Demon. While we are at it, let's ban the Smart ForTwo for being too small and not as safe as, oh let's say, a Suburban. Then, we can ban the Suburban for being too large for parking spaces. Then after we are done banning the Suburban, we can ban all the other vehicles on the road, because all vehicles have a degree of safety risk, which comes from the driver. I highly doubt, the Demon is going to start itself and sprint into 5pm traffic. Just saying."
slow traffic

Slow cars can mix it up with bikes and pedestrians/via

At some point, we have to realize that there is such a mismatch between the big cars and the little cars, the walkers and the cyclers. Cars don't have constitutional protections and are tightly regulated; there is no reason not to have limits on power and acceleration. Years ago I wrote that "We don't need hydrogen cars and new technology, we just need better, smaller designs, lower speed limits and no big SUVs on the road to squish them." I didn't even dream of the Dodge Demon.

Should the Dodge Demon (and cars like it) be banned?