Monday , August 19 2019
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American Cars Are Less Safe

Summary:
If cars are so much saaaaaaaaaaaafer than they used to be – courtesy of the beneficence of the federal government – how come fatalities are increasing rather than decreasing? It’s another one of those awkward questions (like the ones about rivers of molten steel in the basement ruins of the Trade Center Towers) that no one seems to want to ask . . . probably because the answers don’t jibe with the conventions. Or – in this case –  the regulations. About 40,000 people died in car crashes last year. 2018 was also the third year in a row that fatalities increased. Curiously, that’s roughly the same interval of time during which the most aggressive – the most pre-emptive – saaaaaaaafety systems have been mandated or otherwise become

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If cars are so much saaaaaaaaaaaafer than they used to be – courtesy of the beneficence of the federal government – how come fatalities are increasing rather than decreasing?

It’s another one of those awkward questions (like the ones about rivers of molten steel in the basement ruins of the Trade Center Towers) that no one seems to want to ask . . . probably because the answers don’t jibe with the conventions.

Or – in this case –  the regulations.

About 40,000 people died in car crashes last year.

2018 was also the third year in a row that fatalities increased.

Curiously, that’s roughly the same interval of time during which the most aggressive – the most pre-emptive – saaaaaaaafety systems have been mandated or otherwise become fairly common in new cars.

For example, automated emergency braking and “lane keep assist” – which prods the inattentive driver with beeps if he allows the car to wander out of its lane; in some cases, countersteering to get the car back in its lane. Also “pedestrian detection” and back-up cameras (with buzzers) intended to prevent pedestrians and so on from being struck or run over by not-paying-attention drivers.

And that probably accounts for it. The uptick in motor vehicle fatalities.

Drivers are paying less and less attention to driving because cars are taking over more and more of the driving.

This is deliberate policy; the premise being that people can’t be trusted to drive attentively and competently, so let’s let the cars take over.

But these peremptory saaaaaaaaaafety systems have incentivized inattention. Why not take your eyes off the road – and send that text – when you have been told you can depend on the car stopping itself if the car ahead of you suddenly slows down?

Or so you hope.

Eric Peters
Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

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