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Smart Cars

Summary:
One of the arguments used by automated car pushers (I use the term deliberately, to convey the fact that the market isn’t asking for automated cars any more than it is electric cars; both are being forced upon the market by parties who are frustrated by the market’s reluctance to “embrace” either thing) is that they are saaaaaaaafer than cars controlled by us. In a sense, this is true. If you begin with the premise that “us” consists of the typically dumbed-down 18-year-old driver. Whose driving has been dumbed on purpose to create the pretext for automated cars. This process has been under way for a long time but desultorily – until fairly recently. Something changed for the much worse in the early years of this new century. It

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One of the arguments used by automated car pushers (I use the term deliberately, to convey the fact that the market isn’t asking for automated cars any more than it is electric cars; both are being forced upon the market by parties who are frustrated by the market’s reluctance to “embrace” either thing) is that they are saaaaaaaafer than cars controlled by us.

In a sense, this is true.

If you begin with the premise that “us” consists of the typically dumbed-down 18-year-old driver. Whose driving has been dumbed on purpose to create the pretext for automated cars.

This process has been under way for a long time but desultorily – until fairly recently. Something changed for the much worse in the early years of this new century.

It used to be both common – and legal – for 15-something-year-olds to drive. One got one’s learner’s permit that year and in many cases, had already learned how to drive years prior. Parents – fathers – usually being the instructor. Dad would take son – or daughter – out to the shopping mall parking lot, or maybe a mostly empty back road – and begin the schooling.

That was before kids were strapped into Hannibal Lector saaaafety seats in the back seat, of course. They rode up front, often in Dad’s lap – holding the wheel while he explained.

That would get Dad arrested today, of course.

But back then, most American boys, at least, had some behind the wheel experience before the government-prescribed minimum age. Just as most also had some familiarity (and this they still do) with beer before the government gave its royal okay.

Regardless, by fifteen and change, American kids – boys and girls – could begin to learn to drive, legally, in most states – as recently as the late ‘80s and probably well into the ’90s.

And at sixteen – that very day – they were legally licensed to drive. Full privileges, the same as anyone else. And with it, independence. Freedom. They could come and go as they pleased, almost anywhere, almost anytime. This made the getting of the license attractive to a teenager; gave the teenager incentive to learn how to drive.

Most wanted to – badly. And so, made it happen, whatever it took.

And made the grade.

Basic competence was expected – and achieved – at an early age, years before nominal/legal age for drinking, being drafted or being able to sign a valid legal contract; years before the boy or girl typically left their parents’ home for college or work. So that by that time, the young man or woman already had years of driving experience – which generally has the effect of making one a better driver by the time one embarks upon the adult world.

A better driver – who likes to drive.

Today, it is very depressingly different.

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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