Latest Reader Question (April 5, 2018)

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Mark asks: Enjoy your auto stories. You wrote about highway deaths going up in 2016 and 2017. You hinted you maybe thought it may have been the flashing lights and shaking of the steering wheel and other saaaaaaaaafety system warnings – or people feeling the car is looking out for their driving, so drivers are less involved. I believe it’s none of that. I believe it’s the touchscreen on the dash. Radio and cell phone demands viewing to use. Eyes off the road, and problems arise. I have one on my 2017 Harley FLHXS and have one in my 2014 GMC pick-up and my new 2018 pickup and matched the Bluetooth to my iPhone and have free XM. What a distraction. I’m an ex-pro bike racer, never had a ticket (no kidding) or wrecks, fault or no fault. I can spot idiots a mile away. I no longer use the touchscreen, it’s just too dangerous. I’m back to CDs only and I can control the sound and songs on the steering wheel, eyes on the road.

My reply: I agree with you! I believe that touchscreens have been put into cars (and no stink raised by the government, which is so supposedly concerned with our saaaaaaaaaaaaafety) as part of the push toward automated/electric cars and ride-sharing. To stupefy people with electronics – and then present the solution… automated/electric cars.

A side benefit of all this is the accelerated obsoleting of cars. Gadgets (and apps and the rest of it) which are “state of the art” today are yesterday’s news tomorrow. Think how short a useful life a sail fawn has, or even a computer. It’s a much shorter useful life than a car’s anyhow.

Or at least, used to be.

This serves the purpose – again, back to automated/electric cars – of getting people out of the “you own your car” mindset (and owning one car for 10-15 years or even longer) and into the mindset of renting a car – or just a ride.

It’s a Brave New World that’s coming…

 . . .

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  1. I hate touch screens. All of them. In automobiles they are astoundingly stupid. The damn things take far too much attention. There is no tactile feel. Even my ’12 which has no touch screen suffers from the buttons being located too low on the dash due to the touch screen option. My ’73 has everything but the radio high on the dash. Same with my ’97. The radio is higher up on the ’97, but still lower than everything else. It’s like a collective step backwards in recent years. Controls high on the dash allow one to keep watching out the windshield.

  2. Am I the only one to recall when any screen of a certain size the driver could see was verboten in a vehicle? Next thing you know there’s a screen right there FOR the driver and it got larger way to slowly….if that’s going to be legal.

    I’ve been in vehicles where the driver is wandering into lanes and slowing down and speeding up just trying to do something with a touchscreen. It never made sense to me and now big rigs are being made with a screen on the entertainment center. I detest radios, stereos, what have you, without knobs to turn. I recall when you just reached out and found the button by feel and got what you needed. Now there are faint LED readouts on radios with countless tiny buttons for various things such as adjusting every part of the sound right down to setting each frequency range in the equalizer. Try doing that trucking(no, really, dno’t try it).


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