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Unhinged: When The Nannies Won’t Let You Have Any More Fun, Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned

Unhinged: When The Nannies Won’t Let You Have Any More Fun, Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned

You can refer to me as a dinosaur, a Luddite, or whatever else you wish to refer to me as, but from where I stand, anything that involves technology to save a human from the vehicle they are driving is a Bad Freaking Idea™. I want to be clear, however: I am not anti-safety. I think that the three-point safety belt was one of the smartest moves ever made for vehicles, and I’d love to see four- or five-point harnesses myself. I’d also like to see strengthened rollcage-like designs that take away from the racing world and apply them to milquetoast cars and trucks. But here in the last five to ten years, it seems that the manufacturers and entities like NHTSA and IIHS have gone well above and beyond in making sure that the car is more intelligent than the human driving it while displaying a strong desire to kick the human element out of the car, period…or, at least, render them little more than ballast. In the meantime, though, we’ve seen the advent of cost-savings programs implemented as safety devices. Some work, most are questionable at best (in my opinion) and there’s some days that I just want to go find a represenative of these groups, just so I can grab them by the collar and scream, “What is wrong with you?!”, straight to their face.

Here’s some of the latest bits of this kind of tech and how it sucks. Keep in mind, most of these features wouldn’t be needed if getting a driver’s license wasn’t as easy as fogging a mirror. Keep in mind as you read about these things: it’s not the car that’s the problem, it’s the idiot behind the wheel.

1. Automatic Emergency Braking:

What it’s supposed to do: Stop the car before the human realizes there is a reason to panic-brake to avoid a situation. Using forms of radar, LIDAR and other methods, the vehicle senses an object that won’t be clear before the car will make an impact and applies the brakes automatically.

Why is it needed: Driver fails to pay attention to surroundings.

2. Airbags, Everywhere!

What is it supposed to do: Originally a Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) to be used in conjunction with seatbelts to improve crash injury rates, airbags are now the catch-all for any kind of potential injury. Knee, side-impact, rear-impact, seat belt…seems nothing is off-limits to becoming a fluffy pillow if a body part can contact it. Just hope the inflators weren’t made by Takata. Which reminds me…have you had your recalls taken care of yet?

Why is it needed: SRS system, the feeling of a giant warm marshmallow telling you “it’s ok” when the impact occurs.

3. SuperCruise, Autopilot and other Gen 1 semi-autonomous driving aids

What is it supposed to do: Welcome to the future, where you can opt-in and opt-out of driving your own car if you see fit. Regardless of what brand name is used for advertising purposes, a vehicle with a semi-autonomous driving aid allows the driver to basically let the vehicle handle the driving, allowing for hands-free motoring. In theory, this should reduce driver fatigue, especially on long road trips. In reality, you get YouTube clips of some moron sleeping in the passenger seat while their Tesla cruises up I-95.

Why is it needed: It ISN’T, you lazy sons of….er…ahem. Sorry about that. Moving along…

4. Automatic Parking, Trailer Assist, etc. 

What is it supposed to do: Utilize sensors and electric vehicle controls to allow for the vehicle to automatically drive itself to a pre-determined position as chosen by the driver. The vehicle will autonomously drive itself to the chosen position or space and nowhere else. Parking features can be used for tight spaces and parallel parking, while trailer backing eliminates the side-to-side actions of novices.

Why is it needed: Under-trained, under-skilled drivers. There isn’t any other good reason.

5. NHTSA’s Nanny-State Activities

What is it supposed to do: On the surface, it’s supposed to protect John Q. Public and his family while quietly keeping money at the insurance companies because they don’t have to payout premiums. But we’re looking at some of the more ridiculous items: the backseat reminders, the “teen driver” program settings that come with recording devices, and their latest bit of brain damage, the “PARK IT” Act that they are currently trying to push through the Senate as of press time. Because you never forget to turn your car off…right? Right??

Why is it needed: Because a sweeping majority of the citizens do not need a driver’s license, they need a bus pass, and because even if they could get a bus pass (or train pass, or whatever) they can’t because that kind of infrastructure isn’t worth mentioning yet.

Next person who asks me about when they are getting their flying car is getting punched in the mouth.

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15 thoughts on “Unhinged: When The Nannies Won’t Let You Have Any More Fun, Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned

  1. Jack M.

    The best piece of technology they could add to new vehicles is one that would shut down cellphones the second that the engine is started.

  2. Don

    Nissan has a new feature for people who get stuck in stop and go traffic. When engaged it will stop and creep car forward and steer without touching. I know how annoying stop and go traffic can be. If it works as advertised, this could kill some of the bad commuting.

  3. Ted

    Nicely done Bryan, I’m with you on this one. If the manufacturers dropped all these stupid options and included mandatory driving lessons with the purchase of a new vehicle we’d all be better off. In the Greater Vancouver area now there are more supercars and top drawer vehicles with the absolute, and I mean bottom of the barrel brain dead inattentive drivers you could imagine. Are the dealers doing the rest of the driving world any favours by turning loose people who just purchased insert name here without knowing if they could back up without a camera? The dealerships and OEM’s should be held accountable in some respects now, all you need for a Lambo is a briefcase full of money and you’re turned loose in downtown Vancouver. God forbid………..

    1. Tony Primo

      A big part of Vancouver’s traffic problems are very similar to Toronto’s. They both have a large population of immigrants. The government just takes for granted that they know how to drive on our roads. Anyone new to the country should be treated like a brand new 18 year old driver until they can prove otherwise.

  4. airport limo service orlando

    If the device driver dropped them important lessons to fool options included with the purchase of a new vehicle of all, we\’d be better off. The Greater Vancouver area for vehicles that are already absolute supercars drawer and top and bottom of the tub is brain dead can imagine the mind and the drivers. I go ye know, and the flow of traffic, why not be a nuisance. And as if the evil was able to kill one of the proscribed commuting.

  5. david kluttz

    Just rescued a 66 Chevy C-10 from a 23 year stay in the barn–took 4 weeks to get her back ready to go anywhere I want–Has been a while since I have had a full manual six cylinder three on the tree drum brake car or truck–well…the steering is fun–takes several rounds to turn–the brakes make you pay attention–and cornering just is not in the menu BUT…….I love this truck!!!!!!!!!
    It has forced me to SLOW DOWN and enjoy the ride again–I just retired and it is exactly what I needed to help me start living slower all around–which…has been the biggest step ever to a normal life again–I did install a lighter so I could charge my ever present phone –I hate I told you all that but…..I am not Amish so..
    I agree with the OP on the “make it safe for Morons ” deal–I say weed out the idiots naturally–
    I will have this truck until I die ( it never will!)

  6. Rob

    I 100% agree with comment from Tony Primo above – immigrants can’t drive for shit.

    Just yesterday I went for a quick ride on my old classic Harley. Having a awesome ride when down the road a little is a van parked on the edge of the road (probably praying or some shit), as I get fairly close he just pulls out with a U turn no signals nothing. I could see the wide open whites of his eyes when he did spot me but man it was fairly close.
    I did also see that he had the full middle eastern beard complete with funny turbin hat thing. WTF.

    Whilst I’m on a rant about a month ago my wife’s edging along in peak hour traffic and gets rear ended by a twin steer tri axle tipper (fully loaded) by wait for it – a 25 year old middle easterner that can barley speak English and guess what – he was on the phone not watching where he was going. Lots more WTF. I asked him how long he has been out here he answers 1 year.

    I tell my young niece who just got her licence to drive like everyone is out to kill her and she laughs at me – but that’s what it has become.


    1. Chris Fields

      Have experienced many similar incidents caused by dumb locals (often cleanshaven with baseball cap thingys on their heads). Lucky I was riding my high performance Japanese motorcycle..would have been hairy on a heavy bike with poor handling and brakes!

  7. Bryan Lively

    Technology in cars will mirror what’s happening with tractors now. Mother Deere and other companies are making it harder to fix tractors in the field, which farmers have traditionally done on their own without calling a service tech to do it. As a result, older tractors with significantly less technology have been hot commodities with their mechanical fuel injection and simpler electrical and hydraulic systems. As cars become more “independent” or “self-aware” on behalf of the operator I would suspect high quality automobiles that are 15-20 years old will become desirable for their simplicity and ease of repair. Further, this idea of vehicles become more engaged in the driving process will dumb our drivers down more than they are as it is. I firmly believe driving is a privilege and the hoops you must jump through to be a licensed driver are far too easy. Raise the standards and educate young drivers better, the less need we would have for this kind of technology.

  8. Airport Limo Services

    Its good to hear that utilize sensors and electric vehicle controls to allow for the vehicle to automatically drive itself to a pre-determined position as chosen by the driver.

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