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Thread: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?


    Is Detroit responsible for seeing to it that you don't run over your child -- or leave him to roast unattended in a steel and glass greenhouse because you "forgot" you left him in there?

    Or is that a parental responsibility kind of thing?

    The tug-of-war between those who believe the answer is idiot-proofing new cars (no matter how expense or annoying the idiot-proofing gadgets become) and those who think most of these "risks" can be managed by attentive, responsible parenting continues apace.

    The latest thing is a debate over whether all new cars and trucks should be fitted with back-up warning sensors that go ding! ding! ding! if a child is about to backed-up over, buzzers to "remind" the driver if any passengers are still in the vehicle after the igntion is switched off (to prevent children from being left unattended in the vehicle) and auto-reversing power windows that stop and reverse if they detect an object (such as a child's head) in the path of the upward moving glass.

    No one knows exactly how much this'll all cost -- but $300-$600 per car is a good estimate. ("Parktronic" sensors that beep if you're about to bump into or run over something are already offered on some new vehicles and by itself this option adds about $200 to the price of the car.)

    But is it necessary? And should those who don't want or need this stuff have to pay for it anyhow? What if you don't have a child -- and therefore the "safety hazard" of an unattended infant or small kid left in the vehicle is nonexistent?

    And while back-up sensors on a bloated 19-foot SUV may make some sense, isn't it a bit much to demand that theybe installed on compact coupes, sedans and other normal-sized cars? Whatever happened to turning your head and checking things out before putting it in reverse?

    Or is that now Big Momma's job, too?

    Arguably, there's already too much "noise clutter" and electronic nannyism/idiot-proofing being grafted onto cars as it is. The Toyota Celica comes equipped with an over-loud BEEP! BEEP BEEP! that comes on whenever you put the transmission in reverse -- as if this tiny little sports car were some gigantic garbage scow or front-end loader that needed to warn all in the vicinity of the imminent rearward movement of its oversized, unwieldy self. The new Corvette locks the doors -- and locks you in -- until you put the transmission in reverse and turn off the engine. As if you might decide to open the door and jump out while the car was still moving. More and more new cars come with incredibly aggravating "Belt Minder" buzzers that hit you with a BING ! BING ! BING BING! fierce and jarring enough to scare the bejeezus out of you if you're not ready for it. And it does this even if all you're doing is running the stupid car up the driveway to get the mail. Buckle-up for safety!

    Now!

    But maybe it'd be simpler, less expensive -- and in the long run, produce a crop of more attentive, responsible motorists -- to quit relying on henpecky technology that assumes an ever-lower IQ and instead return to the days of expecting drivers to think, use their noggins and exercise good judgment. Look behind the vehicle before you back up to make sure no one left a small child taking a nap behind the rear wheels. Don't forget to take your tot with you when you leave the vehicle in the broiling mid-day sun.

    Is it really too much to ask -- or have we become so addled, so dumb, so utterly incapable of thinking for ourselves that it's necessary to swaddle us in "for your own good" technology and dumbed-down, least-common-denominator laws and regulations?

    One thing's for sure: If the safety-uber-alles juggernaut isn't derailed pretty soon, we'll pass the pointof no return when this kind of thing will become the norm -- and all us "reckless risk-takers" who continue to believe we can handle things on our own, thank you very much, will be rounded up and sent to the gulag (or local DMV office) for "re-education."

    Remember: It's all about "our children."

    END



  2. #2
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Just another flagstone along the primrose path we've all been treading for some time. A 1980 model I had wouldn't crank until I pushed the clutch pedal clear in (that "feature" didn't last too long on that cvar). A 1975 model I owned wouldn't start unless the seat belt was buckled. And on, and on.


  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Quote Originally Posted by D_E_Davis
    Just another flagstone along the primrose path we've all been treading for some time. A 1980 model I had wouldn't crank until I pushed the clutch pedal clear in (that "feature" didn't last too long on that cvar). A 1975 model I owned wouldn't start unless the seat belt was buckled. And on, and on.

    You're right.. and so it goes.

    The only solution is to keep on driving old cars.

    Luddites, unite!

  4. #4
    mrblanche
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Some of these "safety features" really are, though. The neutral safety switch is one that I think none of us would be quick to remove.

  5. #5
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Some of these "safety features" really are, though. The neutral safety switch is one that I think none of us would be quick to remove.
    Certainly there is a grain or two of wheat amidst all the chaff.


  6. #6
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Quote from Eric:

    >>>Only solution is to keep on driving old cars.

    Luddites, unite<<<

    You said it, Eric!




    Larry ...keeps ongoing...going...going in merry old Chevy...

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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    >>Certainly there is a grain or two of wheat amidst all the chaff.<<

    More than just a grain-- I can't really find any of the safety features on either one of my vehicles objectionable.


  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    I took the Trans-Am out today; let loose a huge burnout - back end fishtailing like a just-landed landed big mouth bass... so much more fun than the hemmed in performance of the new Jag I just turned in!

  9. #9
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    >>I took the Trans-Am out today; let loose a huge burnout - back end fishtailing like a just-landed landed big mouth bass... so much more fun than the hemmed in performance of the new Jag I just turned in! <<

    As long as you get free tires and repairs, I guess that's ok----

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rose
    >>I took the Trans-Am out today; let loose a huge burnout - back end fishtailing like a just-landed landed big mouth bass... so much more fun than the hemmed in performance of the new Jag I just turned in! <<

    As long as you get free tires and repairs, I guess that's ok----
    No free tires,a las - and I have to fix what I break. But the thing doesn't break. Those old muscle cars were pretty tough; not much to break, in fact - and when something does go, it's usually relatively cheap and easy to take care of...

  11. #11
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric

    Is Detroit responsible for seeing to it that you don't run over your child -- or leave him to roast unattended in a steel and glass greenhouse because you "forgot" you left him in there?

    Or is that a parental responsibility kind of thing?

    The tug-of-war between those who believe the answer is idiot-proofing new cars (no matter how expense or annoying the idiot-proofing gadgets become) and those who think most of these "risks" can be managed by attentive, responsible parenting continues apace.
    Welcome to 2006. May I compare our two situations - and find the similarities....

    Over the years, we have conversed in forums such as these. I think you know that I'm a fairly successful comp sci guy. Well yes I am, and no I'm not.

    My problem: Microsoft. The monopoly. No longer does one write programs, instead one learns how to use Microsoft tools, to create applications, that sorta work the way we would sorta like them to work. The entire focus is figuring out how Microsoft thinks thing should be, the focus is not on the customer, or writing the code, instead it's about working with tools that Microsoft provides. It may all change in three years, but that's Microsoft's decision.

    You are experiencing that same thing with cars: By defacto mandate you gotta have computers, O2 sensors, DSTC, ABS, air bags, a littany of alleged safety features.

    IMHO, 'things', life, needs to have a large amount of independence and fun. Our society, government, economy, is taking the fun out of driving, programming, doing our jobs.

    I feel your pain. It's happening to a lot of people, not just gear heads!



  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    "IMHO, 'things', life, needs to have a large amount of independence and fun. Our society, government, economy, is taking the fun out of driving, programming, doing our jobs. I feel your pain. It's happening to a lot of people, not just gear heads!"



    You know, that's maybe the best way I've ever heard it put; you nailed it!

  13. #13
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    "You know, that's maybe the best way I've ever heard it put; you nailed it!
    What I think needs to happen is us guys & gals who get things done, need to have a way to express our selves, both artistically and economically, to make positive things happen.

    Life is not about law, after law, after law...

    As an atheist I want to say that the more laws you have, the less love you have. Now that may sound corney, but I think it's a big part of the govenmental 'controlling' equation. If you truely 'love' your felow man you would not feel the necissity to pass 101 chicken sh*t laws against anything you can possibly do.

    This is why I like your forum!



  14. #14
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    >>No free tires,a las - and I have to fix what I break. But the thing doesn't break.<<

    Looks to me like a man of your influence could muster up a few "test tires"----

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    "What I think needs to happen is us guys & gals who get things done, need to have a way to express our selves, both artistically and economically, to make positive things happen.

    Life is not about law, after law, after law...

    As an atheist I want to say that the more laws you have, the less love you have. Now that may sound corney, but I think it's a big part of the govenmental 'controlling' equation. If you truely 'love' your felow man you would not feel the necissity to pass 101 chicken sh*t laws against anything you can possibly do.

    This is why I like your forum! "

    More good stuff - thanks!

    In a similar vein, I agree with the Jeffersonians, who believed that as population density and urbanization increase, liberty and civility decline.

    Christopher Hitchins has a great piece in the current Maxim - grab a copy if you can; it's well worth the read!




  16. #16
    DonTom
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    As an atheist I want to say that the more laws you have, the less love you have. Now that may sound corney, but I think it's a big part of the govenmental 'controlling' equation. If you truely 'love' your felow man you would not feel the necissity to pass 101 chicken sh*t laws against anything you can possibly do.

    I once talked with a guy from Lebanon who explained to me that having a lot of laws is a sign of a free country. It's a lot worse where there are no laws.

    But, IMO, words such as "freedom" and "love" are little more than meaningless buzzwords. You have to define them before each use because of the countless possible definitions.

    Many people who say they "love freedom" wish to make flag bunring illegal. I tell them that they can find that type of freedom in any commie country.


    ?It is more patriotic to burn the flag and uphold the Constitution than to burn the Constitution and hold up the flag."
    - Unknown


    -Don Quoteman


  17. #17
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    I once talked with a guy from Lebanon who explained to me that having a lot of laws is a sign of a free country. It's a lot worse where there are no laws.
    Who suggested we have no laws? What I'm talking about is the proliferation of laws that are focused at controlling our behavior.

    In another thread I mentioned that Minnesota has passed traffic laws that give busses the right to drive, IMO, recklessly and endanger other drivers. It seems the MN legislature is more concerned about the 'PC' of public transportation, than safety. These are the kinds of laws I'm referring to


  18. #18
    rc74racer
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    As far as laws infringing on personal freedom is concerned as long as the masses stay silent things will never change. Those who speak the loudest get noticed and in this country and every other for the most part it's the extremist that get noticed. In America that would be the far right and far left those of us in between get left behind.

    I think most of the safety features on new cars are a good thing. The one "idiot proofing"feature I'd like to see added is some kind of chip in your car and cell phone that make it impossible to use for anything other then dialing 911. I read an article the other day that claimed 1 out of every 4 accidents is caused by driver distraction and most of that is cell phones. They attribute more accidents to cell phones now then alcohol. They really are becoming our biggest threat on the road and I for one am sick of it. This is one instance where I would also be ok with some new more restrictive laws, let's see some serious penalties for this crap.

  19. #19
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Quote Originally Posted by rc74racer
    The one "idiot proofing"feature I'd like to see added is some kind of chip in your car and cell phone that make it impossible to use for anything other then dialing 911. I read an article the other day that claimed 1 out of every 4 accidents is caused by driver distraction and most of that is cell phones.
    Today I observed a gal pump gas, get back in the car, drive off, and never stopped talking on her phone. At breakfast, a guy in the next booth, had a phone call all the while I ate. At the market yesterday, this gal had her 5 yr old push the cart (into other people) so she could talk on her phone. I was there long enough to buy $100 worth of groceries, she was still on the phone when I was at the checkout.

    It's really ugly to see how many people feel the need to constantly talk

  20. #20
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    Re: Idiot-proofing vehicles - or making them "safe"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rose
    >>Certainly there is a grain or two of wheat amidst all the chaff.<<

    More than just a grain-- I can't really find any of the safety features on either one of my vehicles objectionable.

    Hear! Hear!

    I like the idea of staying alive with no effort. And for a long time, too, there are a lot of prospective graves I'm just waiting to piss on.

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