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Thread: The idiot-proofing of America...

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    The idiot-proofing of America...

    More "for the children"
    (But less and less for common sense)
    By Eric Peters

    The idiot-proofing of America continues to pick up speed.

    Last month, federal regulators reached a "voluntary compliance" agreement with the major automakers, under the terms of which they will fit all their new passenger vehicles with brake-shift interlocks by 2010. The devices are designed to prevent the gearshift of an automatic-equipped vehicle from being inadvertently moved out "Park" (and the vehicle set in motion) by a child fiddling around with the controls or just crawling around inside the vehicle.

    Over the past decade or so, NHTSA has recorded about 212 "unexpected starts" of vehicles not equipped with interlocks -- and seven fatalities. Chrysler Corp. has been the target of several lawsuits over accidents which occurred in (ironically) minivans that lacked the interlocks.

    But forget the interlocks for a minute.

    What about the negligent parents who are leaving children inside a running vehicle, unattended? In all the news coverage heralding this magnificent safety concordat (instigated by the lawsuits and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who along with Republican Rep. John Sununu co-authored the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act), no mention whatever is made of that glaring and decisive "first cause." Had the engine been turned off, the transmission put in "Park" and the key removed, it would not have been possible for the kids who got hurt to have set the whole horrible chain of events in motion.

    Instead, it's the automakers' fault -- and Hillary (and John) to the rescue.

    "These tragedies are heart-wrenching, not only due to the unimaginable grief these families endure, but also because they are preventable," the pair wrote in a recent op-ed defending their legislation.

    Well, yes -- these tragedies were "entirely preventable." If, that is, the adults around at the time had exercised some common sense.

    When a responsible adult is not behind the wheel (and thus, in control of the vehicle) the engine should always be turned off, the transmission put in "Park," the ignition key turned to the "lock" position and removed. This small precautionary step taken, it becomes next-to-impossible for the vehicle to move -- no matter what little Taylor or Ashlee is doing. (And besides, aren't these kids supposed to be strapped into their child safety seats?)

    End of problem.

    But since an ever-growing number of people (in particular, parents) apparently cannot be counted on to exercise common sense, we have to depend on politicians -- and the government -- to protect us from our own dim-wittedness.

    Hillary and John also want to have the federal government require that all new vehicles leave the factory with "backover prevention technology" -- sensors and even closed-circuit TV cameras built into the rear-end of a car or truck that sound the alarm if the driver's about to run over a toddler. Many new cars already offer this feature -- but Hillary and John want to make it mandatory across the board.

    Even if you don't have kids and don't drive a family-type vehicle. (And even if you are the type of driver who takes a moment to be sure there's nothing back there before you back up.)

    This is the top-heavy solution to the problem of a handful of distracted (and arguably negligent) parents smooshing their own spawn under the family SUV or minivan. The parent involved can't be bothered to do the old fashioned thing and make sure no kids are crawling around the driveway before they begin backing up.

    It's of a piece with lawsuits directed at manufacturers of riding lawnmowers, who have been blamed for a handful of accidents that occurred when a baby or toddler was killed by Backyard Bob. No one ever asks why Backyard Bob permitted a baby to roll around on the lawn while he was cutting the grass with dangerous power equipment -- let alone dares to suggest that perhaps Bob might have looked where he was mowing instead of guzzling down another Milwaukee's Best.

    Hillary and John also want auto-reversing power windows, and a new federal requirement that "... data on non-traffic vehicle accidents be collected (to) help raise awareness among parents of these dangers through a child safety information program."

    It'll all cost money, of course -- in the case of mandatory stability control technology and back-up sensors, at least several hundred dollars or more per vehicle based on the current prices of these features.

    More basically, though, all this is stuff is just another brick in the wall our government is building around us -- ostensibly, to protect us but in reality to keep us hemmed in behind the skirts of Big Momma and terrified of the dangers of the world outside.

    A people capable of looking out for itself (and for its kids) doesn't need what Hillary and John are selling.

    And that would be bad for business.

    END

  2. #2
    DonTom
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    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...

    "The devices are designed to prevent the gearshift of an automatic-equipped vehicle from being inadvertently moved out "Park" (and the vehicle set in motion) by a child fiddling around with the controls or just crawling around inside the vehicle. Over the past decade or so, NHTSA has recorded about 212 "unexpected starts" of vehicles not equipped with interlocks -- and seven fatalities."

    Since when could automatics be started by the wheels rolling? And since when could an automatic be put into neutral when the key is out?

    Or is this idiot proofing only for those who are dumb enough to keep their key in the ignition while gone?


    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; but I'm not sure about the the universe."
    -Albert Einstein


    However:


    "A village cannot be a village without an idiot "
    - George Carlin


    -Don Quoteman


  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...

    [quote autho

    Or is this idiot proofing only for those who are dumb enough to keep their key in the ignition while gone?[/color]

    You got it!

  4. #4
    mrblanche
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    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...

    I have a better question.

    When was the last car made that you could do the famous "teenage high-rev auto trans drop?" I haven't seen one in a long time.

    Of course, I haven't been a teenager for a long time, either!

    I'd try this and find out - but I'd feel wrong about doing it to a press car.

    I can tell you than many make it virtually impossible to power brake (automatic trans. models) and will limit wheelspin even with the Trac system ostensibly "off."

  5. #5
    gail
    Guest

    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom


    "A village cannot be a village without an idiot "
    - George Carlin


    -Don Quoteman

    I saw a bumper sticker one day while I was at the gas station that read "A village in Texas is missing its Idiot." Thinking this guy had a great sense of humor and we happened to get out of our vehicles at the same time - I said "Escaped, huh?" This guy became furious, it seems that he had no sense of humor at all, and I never did find out what or why the bumper sticker. I think he probably was the Idiot. :

  6. #6
    mrblanche
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    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    I have a better question.

    When was the last car made that you could do the famous "teenage high-rev auto trans drop?" I haven't seen one in a long time.

    Of course, I haven't been a teenager for a long time, either!

    I'd try this and find out - but I'd feel wrong about doing it to a press car.

    I can tell you than many make it virtually impossible to power brake (automatic trans. models) and will limit wheelspin even with the Trac system ostensibly "off."
    Eric, please quit editing my posts!!!!

  7. #7
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...

    Gail,

    "Eric, please quit editing my posts!!!!"

    Now, I don't think he is. There might be some type of strange forum software bug. Until this is fixed, everybody should sign their own names to the bottom of their messages just as I have always done. That will help avoid the confusion.

    -Don-

  8. #8
    gail
    Guest

    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    Gail,

    "Eric, please quit editing my posts!!!!"

    Now, I don't think he is. There might be some type of strange forum software bug. Until this is fixed, everybody should sign their own names to the bottom of their messages just as I have always done. That will help avoid the confusion.

    -Don-
    To start with - I didn't say that (gail) But, if you notice this is only happening to Eric. Why, oh why ???

  9. #9
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...

    I didn't say that (gail) But, if you notice this is only happening to Eric. Why, oh why

    Perhaps because he has more powers to screw things up here than do the rest of us. ;D

    -Don-

  10. #10
    mrblanche
    Guest

    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    Gail,

    "Eric, please quit editing my posts!!!!"

    Now, I don't think he is. There might be some type of strange forum software bug. Until this is fixed, everybody should sign their own names to the bottom of their messages just as I have always done. That will help avoid the confusion.

    -Don-
    Is that message showing under Gail's ID to you? Because it's showing under mine to me.

    Mike

  11. #11
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: The idiot-proofing of America...


    Is that message showing under Gail's ID to you? Because it's showing under mine to me.

    Mike


    No, I screwed up that time. It's under your name but she has complined about the same thing.

    -Don-

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