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March 16th, 2000

Cars don’t need to be safer, in a sense.

A recent feature on MSNBC demonstrated how companies, along with the government, are trying to get black boxes into automobiles. The black box would be able to determine your position using GPS, along with the current status of your car’s airbags and if it has flipped or not (using the wonderful "Inverted" variable.)

The reason to do this, according to the report, is to make cars safer. Uhm, well, okay… but cars today are relatively safe, aren’t they? I think so. We’ve got ABS, dual front airbags, side airbags, window curtains, crumple zones… all of that. Cars are safe. The problem is that people aren’t being properly educated on how to drive.

Driver’s Education programs are reflecting lots of the educational programs nowadays: lackluster and adequate at best. I know that lots of things that I really should have learned back in Driver’s Ed, I didn’t. And it wasn’t because I wasn’t paying attention. It might’ve been because the books were from 1972, when driving was much much different. It might’ve been the simulators, which were a joke (and looked like washing machines.) Behind the wheel was okay, but still not the same.

I wonder what Driver’s Ed is like today. If it’s a reflection of the current generation of drivers, it stinks. Turn signals, for instance, were just a fad. Right of way is a joke. Being courteous in traffic? Nuh-uh. It genuinely seems as if the education is missing in Driver’s Ed.

But, of course, we can’t fault this on the students or the teachers – no, no! It’s gotta be the fault of the cars. That’s why we’re going to pay more money for more features on cars that we don’t really need, but will have forced on us by the poor attempt at educating drivers.

Cops give tickets for speeding like it’s the worst sin on the planet. How about weaving, cutting off, tailgating relentlessly, and not knowing how to drive? -pm

Posted in Cars

FROM: Old Fezziwig
DATE: Thursday March 16, 2000 -- 10:35:01AM
Ah, a subject close to my heart! I agree that cars are safer than ever. And I agree that driver's ed programs are basically crap. But I think part of the reason there is so much 'road rage' and bad driving is because people *do* feel safer and are more prone to take risks while driving. Plus, I think the roadway infrastructure in this country is not capable of handling the volume of traffic out there. This causes delays, frustration rises, rules are out the window, and people get crazy. Even when I'm out in the Fezz-mobile, I have to actually talk myself out of road-rage, which is something that was never a problem with me before. People just don't care anymore - it's a free-for-all on the roads - - it's a reflection of society as a whole. Action without consequence is the feeling of a majority of our population. In my opinion, this all goes back to the poor quality of parenting in the world today. This produces poor driving 'students' and is not necessarily the fault of the driver's ed teachers (I'll refrain from going off on the tangent of the public school equivalent of this subject!)

Aside from the fact that 'the man' could track your every move, I am in favor of black boxes in vehicles. Given my speeding ticket history, I could really use some hard data during my traffic court testimonies. Otherwise, it's always my word against the cops and who do you think wins? There have been a few times when I was only going 3 or 4 mph over the limit, yet got clocked at 10 above. As the great Chuck D once said: "FIGHT THE POWER!" A place where I really think black boxes work is in the trucking industry. My company ( is actually a major player in implementing black box technology in the trucking industry [shameless plug]. Not only is it an aid for the truck driver, but it may also make the highways safer for those of you that drive the big-rig-snack Yugos, Metros, or Trackers. If the truck driver knows his speed, his lane changing habits, etc. is being tracked by his company, you can bet he'll be more prone to do everything correctly than without a black box attached.
-Old Fezz

FROM: Matt
DATE: Thursday March 16, 2000 -- 1:18:42PM
I am definately opposed to black boxes in cars and similar things such as the govt. being able to listen in on any phone call and know your position anywhere in the World. Read Revelations in the Bible, the time approaches when no one will be able to buy or sell goods without the mark of the beast

FROM: Logic 3:16
DATE: Sunday October 13, 2002 -- 1:55:17 am
True, new cars have a load of safety features, but they're small, a bit flimsy, and could stand to have a little more steel in them. No wonder an SUV (basically a truck) can make a mess of the average car driver, and it's not just because of the height difference. Most cars back in the 1970's were like living rooms on wheels giving plenty of space around the occupants, but I can't even sit in a car today without having my head up against the roof or my arm cramped against the window. And they can't even take a little hit without thousands of dollars in body damage. I think auto manufacturers deliberately build cars using the thinnest, lightest, and cheapest materials possible and try to offset that problem with their safety "features". But I'd rather bet my life on an old Lincoln or Cadillac any day, air bag or no air bag.

And as for people's driving skills, there's always room for improvement. But this road rage "crisis" is nothing more than the latest political fad - my friends, relatives, and I haven't personally seen drivers behaving any more aggressively than they did 20 years ago, and I live in a highly populated area facing daily traffic jams. In fact, I'm surprised drivers aren't MORE nasty. Aggressive driving is simply being publicized more these days by the left-wing media, and liberal politicians and researchers feel the need to invent some kind of a crisis every now and then to show people that they're "doing something" for public safety and thereby secure more votes and funding. Don't be fooled.

FROM: dave
DATE: Sunday October 13, 2002 -- 8:22:21 am
...liberal politicians and researchers feel the need to invent some kind of a crisis every now and then to show people that they're "doing something"...

Kind of like right-wing politicians inventing a crisis in the Middle East to show people they're "doing something" because they can't/won't fix the economy?

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday October 13, 2002 -- 8:28:57 pm
Good call out, Dave.

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