When a bright child questions a parent who hasn’t got a good answer, the parent often will sometimes say, because I said so!
Government works on the same principle.
It says A and B are the law - that we must not do something - because of this rationale. But when we - its children, as it considers us - notice and ask why C is allowed or even required, despite it being contrary to the same rationale given for A and B, we are told - in essence - because I said so!
Examples abound but the latest is an exemption from federal saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety requirements for cars without drivers just granted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Nuro R2 - named, obviously, to summon warm associations with the cute little R2 D2 robot from Star Wars - will not have to conform to FMVSS crashworthiness standards that apply to other cars.
Well, to cars that still have drivers.
FMVSS is ukase code for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards - there’s that word again! - which among other things decree the crashworthiness of new cars with someone behind the wheel. How they impact things.
This includes people.
Driverless cars like the Nuro R2 are to be exempted from such tomfoolery, even though it's a fact that they are quite capable of crashing into things.
And people.
Because driverless cars aren't infallible.
They have demonstrated this. Repeatedly.
But NHTSA considers the R2 an acceptable risk - to our safety - because it has a maximum speed of "only" 25 miles-per-hour. Walk into traffic moving 25 MPH and see how saaaaaaaaaaaaaafe it is to be hit by a vehicle traveling "only" 25 MPH.
If, of course, you survive the experience.
Since the R2 doesn't have a driver to see things in its path such as other cars - and people - it is up to sensors and cameras and programming to apply the brakes and not run into them.
It's inevitable that the R2 won't see someone, eventually. Perhaps you.
Maybe your kid.
Our safety - at the mercy of technology which has established its fallibility.
Including its greater susceptibility to being stumped by rain and fog and snow and ice, its programming stymied - because its sensors cannot see.
Oh well.
Where to send the hospital bill?
Meanwhile, we’re not allowed to temporarily turn off defective air bags that have established their lethality until such time as it can be arranged to have the murderous things replaced. As you read this sentence, there are tens of thousands of cars being driven around with air bags prone to disintegrate upon deployment, shredding the driver's face with high-velocity shrapnel.
The law requires the owners of these cars to continue driving around with these time-bombs inches away from their faces; or rather, the law - NHTSA - will not issue a stay of execution by permitting the owners to have a dealer turn them off until they can be replaced (so many cars are affected that it will take years to replace all the known-defective air bags)..
Even though NHTSA knows that the cars equipped with these dashboard Claymores are extremely not saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe.
Oh well.
What would NHTSA's reaction be if it were discovered that Toyota or Honda or Chevrolet had been selling cars that didn't meet the federal 5 MPH bumper-impact requirement?
It'd be volcanic.
So why are driverless cars exempted?
It is because NHTSA wants to facilitate the process of getting drivers out of cars. There is no other sane explanation for the serial kid-glove treatment of dangerous driverless cars, including (most notoriously) Tesla electric cars that drive a great deal faster then 25 MPH - without a driver.
Or rather, with drivers who have turned over driving to the car - and then gone to sleep behind the wheel.
Tesla advertises this capability - and NHTSA doesn't so much as belch. Multiple deaths - and more inevitably to follow.
No recall. No requirement that "Autopilot" be disabled - even temporarily.
But if you don't wear a seatbelt, you risk the unfriendly attentions of armed government workers, who will literally threaten your life for - at the very worst - putting your own saaaaaaaaaaaafety slightly at risk.
Driverless cars that put other people's saaaaaaaaaaaafety at risk?
That's just fine.
Because we said so!
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics - or anything else? Click on the "ask Eric" link and send 'em in!
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