Monday, February 13, 2012

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You – Death by Distracted Driver

Longing for the Good Ole Days When All Drivers Did Drive the Car

It has happened to all of us, and to people that drive a lot, it happens almost on a regular basis.  Traffic is merging from your right or left, and the person has a cell phone plastered in his or her ear, totally oblivious to any other traffic.  You avoid an accident only because you brake suddenly and grant the offender the right of way.  Maybe you honk your horn to alert the other driver, but all you get is a questioning look, like “what’s the problem?”.

Automakers are now planning on making this problem worse, much worse. 

Undaunted by fear of safety regulations, auto makers are piling new technologies into their vehicles: everything from 17-inch dashboard screens to services that check Facebook and buy movie tickets.

So what does everyone have to look forward to?  Well there is this.

General Motors Co. this spring will release an 8-inch, touch-screen display for online applications, navigation and music that can be activated through voice, touch or steering wheel controls. Ford Motor Co. already allows drivers to receive Twitter feeds and stream online music through its Sync technology. New Mercedes-Benz cars this spring will tap into Facebook and perform Google searches. Mercedes drivers won't be able to enter text while the car is in drive, but prewritten phrases can be selected with a click.

And here is one driver’s reaction, which kinda sums up all that is wrong with this.

"I like the way it looks," said Jamie Kaye Walters, 38, a television production company executive who recently bought a 2012 Ford with the Sync system. "It's a little bit distracting, but it kind of allows me to do work while I am driving without having to look down at my phone. I can do the whole thing with voice activation."

No Mr. Walters, we don’t want you to have devices that allow you to do work when you are driving.  We don’t want you working while driving.  In fact, the only thing we want you to do while you are driving is to drive.  The car is not your office, you need to give 100% attention to driving, not working the office.

Once all this junk has been installed in autos there will be an increase in accidents.  People will be injured and people will be killed.  It would be okay if only the drivers were injured or reached the classification of deceased.  But driving a car involves other people.  The passengers in the distracted driver’s car will be killed.  The people in the other cars that are drawn into the accidents these devices cause will die. 

So no, you don’t need a 17 inch screen in your car for the driver to look at, you don’t need to twitter or to make restaurant reservations or to buy movie tickets.  That service is not worth the life of a single person, the person who will be injured or killed when a distracted driver plows into another auto. Where are the so-called "pro-life" people when we need them (probably talking on the phone while driving, because they really don't care about life after birth)

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