21 April 2006

Unintended Consequences

A recent 'study' purporting to show the relative risks associated to various activities people frequently engage in while driving shows that many folks engage allow themselves to be inattentive while driving.

(I put 'study' in quotes because of firstly, a small sample size, and secondly, a self-selected sample, both things that make this sort of study unlikely to be precisely reflective of the population at large)

The largest contributing factor in my opinion isn't all the devices that people feel the need to use while driving, or time pressure that people feel their under so that they feel the need to multi-task.

Rather, it's the cars.

Cars are too easy to drive. There are too many convenience features that make piloting these marvelous machines a nearly brainless activity. People are simple primates, and unless you keep them engaged in the activity at hand, they have a habit of looking for the next bright and shiny object.

Solution; make cars more difficult to drive again.

No more power steering, no more power brakes, no cruise control.

Make cars a beast to control again, and you won't have people talking on phones, doing their hair, applying make-up, eating, text messaging, reading newspapers, watching porn, shaving, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

And miracle of miracles, some people don't see this as an excuse to pass a slew of inaffective new laws
"I urge legislators not to interpret these results as a need for new legislative initiatives. It is simply not good public policy to pass laws addressing every type of driver behavior," said Lt. Col. Jim Champagne, chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association.

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