“Concern” in the Wrong Quarter

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Clearly, pedestrians and bicyclists are unsafe and must be banned – or least, fatwa’d.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – an apparat of the federal government that by some ineffable self-accretion acquired legislative power over all of us without having been elected by any of us – is “concerned” about an increase in the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths, 3.4 and 6.3 percent respectively.

This is said to be the biggest increase in 30 years – which timeframe interestingly jibes almost exactly with the manifold increase in government mandated ssssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety equipment in new cars.

Three decades ago – back in 1989 – no cars had any form of driver “assistance” or even back-up cameras. Yet people were backed into – and run over – less often back then. Could it possibly be because thirty years ago drivers were expected to not back into people or run them over – as opposed to relying on technology to prevent it?

Despite all the technology in new cars, they’re objectively less safe . . . to people who aren’t inside them – because of the gadget-addled people inside them.

“Safety” has been redefined to mean crashworthy.

The car protects the people in it from the forces of an impact. But they’re more apt to impact because of all the ssssssssssaaaaaaaaaaafety inside them. Because they’re paying less attention.

And because they are less and less competent.

For about thirty years now, there has been a complete shift in emphasis away from minimal expectations of drivers in favor of almost total reliance on the car to take over the driving. Which might be the ticket – from the standpoint of avoiding the backing into and running over of people – if the technology weren’t just as fallible as the people who designed it.

Aye, there’s the rub.

People have come to believe that technology will solve our problems because they believe it is smarter than we are. But we design technology – and thus it is born with imperfections, as we are.

But the imperfections are different – and generalized.

One can predict – and take steps to deal with – a glaucomic human, one whose vision is fading and thus someone who should no longer be driving. There are tests for this and many people self-screen for this. They (being thinking creatures, unlike a computer) realize  they’re no longer safe to drive  – and stop driving on their own.

But what about a camera that goes glaucomic?

It does not self-police and there is no test. It just fails. And when it does, the “driver” – who has come to depend on the camera and related tech to do the job that used to be his job – doesn’t notice and even if he does, isn’t ready and probably not able to effectively take over.

The Reuters story linked to earlier quotes a AAA study that showed automated emergency braking systems “…(do) not always work effectively and have a significantly higher failure rate at night.”

Surprise, surprise!

Most of this technology is incredibly clumsy as well as over-reactive and non-reactive (as per AAA and as per snow and heavy rain and fog, which occlude the sensors upon which the systems depend and cause them not react when they should and over-react when they should not).

Anyone who can parallel park and who has driven a car that parks itself knows the car takes longer to do it and does it less artfully. But the system was designed to generalize ineptitude via electronics. To least-common-denominator what used to be a minimally expected competence.

It is easy to understand why all of this happened.

Laziness – and the lust to control – combined with the profit (at gunpoint) motive. Lots of people don’t want to be competent, much less punished for not being competent. They’d rather everyone be presumed incompetent. The government needs incompetence to be general – assumed – in order to justify controlling the incompetent. And the car industry loves incompetent people who can be forced to buy sssssssssssssssssssssssssaaaaaaaaaafety systems.

This manufactured problem could be dealt with effectively, easily and inexpensively by:

Expecting people who drive a car to know how to.

Expecting them to pay attention to their driving.

Holding them responsible when they don’t.

Instead, you can bet your bippie that NHTSA will “call” for more reactive/LCD technology to address the manufactured problem of drivers who can’t – or just don’t.  The apparat nest is already “looking for ways to reduce fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists,” according t the Reuters piece.

Watching the road – and getting those who don’t or won’t off the road – will not be among the ways.

One of the ways that will be more than merely looked for will be external air bags – to cushion the impact of the car upon the pedestrian or cyclist. Volvo (of course) has already demonstrated this technology and it is certain to be “embraced” by the “automotive community.”

I put the air quotes there to ridicule the insipid falsity of the hippie commune-ism verbiage of the corporate-government nexus, which has adopted the snuggly sayings of the Flower Children – many of whom are now entering the second childhood of senility. But the original hippies didn’t force anyone to join their communes or adopt their ways – in contrast with the government-corporate nexus, which always carries a gun in the left hand as it “reaches out” with its right hand.

Better drivers aren’t wanted when more idiots are needed.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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68 COMMENTS

  1. It really is incredible how stupid people have become thanks to these gadgets. I was sitting in the parking lot on Wednesday night waiting for my daughter’s dance class to end when a car directly across the aisle from me started backing up right at me. I had backed into my spot so I was watching and thinking, she’s got to stop soon, right? Right? Wrong! Just as I lay into my horn she hits the front of my truck. And when she gets out what does she say? “I’m so sorry! My thing didn’t beep.” That’s all she kept saying, when simply looking in her rearview mirror could have prevented the whole thing. Luckily she wasn’t going too fast and my truck is old with almost 160K miles, so another scratch on the bumper isn’t going to keep me up at night. But what if my daughter had been walking across the parking lot at that moment? That’s why I yelled and made the poor lady cry.

  2. The “we” feedback loop, tech & “otherwise,” o’ demoltion derby design. It’s shaped like this: ∞.

    Technologists (amongst others), working for psychologists (mostly), for to sell to, or impose upon, the rest\ing (as many as possible), who are of a mindset – but all to often of a mindsettee, which is & always was an a priori suttee – to consume those couched & couching calories, & be consumed by them in turn.

    Know someone young, a “ute,” who grew up swimming in tech effluvia, that backed his Subaru – no ’64 skylark *or* ’63 tempest — into a tree. He was watching the backcam. But it didn’t beep. Because a sensor in the driver side door mirror housing – which had also been dinged on something prior – had Elvis’d the enclosure. When he kissed the tree, the hatchback window exploded & the metal buckled & the plastic cracked. Backing up slow, not the Burt Reynolds/Hooper maneuver, & the repairs were around $1500, if I recall right. And the sensor that feeds the beep-beep that always defeats Wiley’s acme gadget efforts still ain’t fixed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFdJza0AbeA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDaPc0dPEdM

    I’m concerned that quarters ain’t silver anymore. That (all that’s silvery ain’t gold), & 20 or so cuproclad tokens’ll buy a cup of starbucks. But that’s “we” for ya’. “Us,” too. All the possessively possessed plural e pluribus pronouns, in fact… & the dispossessively dispossessed “other” ones, too.

    W(o)e’s in the woe trade…actually woe trades in w(o)e. So that’s the definition of the “normal” alien(insemin)ated preggers bell curve, the surreality so many are wont to call reality: w(o)e’s all POW’s:: prisoners of woe. Lake Woebegonever.

    The I’m so pretty scene, from TD, season 1: “Surely this is all for me (we). Me(we)? Me•me•I•I (weweusus)”…lol.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oX2xFo7JA4

    Rust Cohle for president. I still wouldn’t vote – ain’t mine, or anyone else’s prerogative…besides, nothing & less than nothing are the only two gears presidents got — but damn it’d be fun to watch while it lasted.

    Countries is one of the fractal units of we. & they definitely be communes of the forced variety. Date rape (& other mindcopulations). Like 1776. Dec7. 9/11. Etc. Shots heard round the world (are always percussing neath the whorls of most fingerprints).

    Or that flat disc Cohle, via that ol’ Nietzsche tai chi, talked about. Riding that spinning eternal recurrence is loads of fractal repetition compulsion. And many Cogdis Compelled Riders prefer to refer to the compulsions as “choice” or “free will” or “agency” or “my (our) country” ororor all the other euphemisms & reframes & denials (synonyms all…& the words just continue to pile up, keel over, pile up, keel over ∞).

      • Yes. But not as sober as you were when you read it, I gather?

        A lot of what gets positively characterized as “sober” I find to be merely enervated, middle of the pack insulated, & often, or typically, or maybe always, under the influence of 180 social proof…which is to say falling down drunk in tribally approved — & bribally facilitated — ways.

        Anyway…temperament is what it is & live & let live.

        But trespass — temperance leagues, prohibitionists (exhibitionists in drag), Volstead actors –none of those are wired libertarian, let alone leading themselves, in their own lives. The anarchy don’t fit those locks.

        And none of those i’mpuritans are minority voices in the wilderness of mass movement.

        But & so libertarians may as well be Liberians; there’s shorts in that circuit. NAP as centerpiece of a political party is & could only ever be a bit a fringe atop the surrey(alism) — non aggression principle politics is schizoid oxymoron — & it don’t (or shouldn’t) take a mirror, or a backup camera, to see that.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLIS7pWpork

        Expression. Wm Golding wrote a short novel titled “Clonk Clonk.” The first words, under the title, were these:

        Song before speech
        Verse before prose
        Flute before blowpipe
        Lyre before bow

        Just so, even if it hardly ever was, is, or will be.

        Or, put another way, outta’ Rust Cohle’s mouth:

        Rust: This place is like somebody’s memory of a town…& the memory’s fading. It’s like there was never anything here but jungle.
        Marty: Stop saying shit like that. It’s unprofessional.
        R: Oh. Is that what I’m going for here?
        M: I just want you to stop saying odd shit. Like you smell the psychosphere, or you’re in somebody’s faded memory of a town. Just stop.
        R: Well, given how long its taken for me to reconcile my nature I can’t figure I’d forgo it on your account, Marty.

        Bonus point q: who was where on the Rust-Marty sobriety continuum?

        • I’m not a missionary. Or a proselytizer. Or a salesman. But the FSA is all of those.

          And the list of S the A wants for F is long.

          That list of lusts insatiable includes even things like “thou shalt express yourself in terms we can comprehend.” Or agree with. Or like. Or whatever other cafeteria bulk food cry•teria is “owed” them.

          But if my English is foreign to the borg, that’s not my problem to care about, let alone solve. The white ball goes where I want it to go…which is to say I go where the little superbossanova big bang of conception “wants” “me” to want “it” to go. Remember what the dormouse said: the raison detre contribution of cubic bits of colored chalk around the table is traction for the end of my cue.

          I’m not a hustler, nor hustled, either. But, of course, there but for the Grace of Slick go I.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyMtIwobqbI

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MarQVlEAmBA

  3. The Feds are trying to codify Vision Zero into the transportation network. Fight it every way you can, they want taxpayer’s money and will use it to eliminate the automobile (except for the elites, of course).

    The Vision Zero Initiative seeks to reduce traffic deaths to zero–certainly a worthy goal. However, I looked throughout its web site and couldn’t find anything about how they propose to achieve that goal. Instead, there is a lot of mumbo jumbo along with a few poorly chosen statistics about how safe roads are in Sweden. The lack of specific recommendations combined with the misuse of data leads me to believe that this initiative is no better than a cult trying to get money out of gullible government officials with the promise that, if they pay enough, they’ll get a magic formula to safer streets.

    The statistic they most commonly use is number of traffic deaths per 100,000 residents. The problem with this is that this number is bound to be higher in countries where people drive the most. Considering that commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, you could just as well argue that countries that have totally destroyed their fisheries due to overfishing have superior policies to ones that still have healthy fisheries. However, there are better ways of improving safety than destroying the utility of whatever it is that might be dangerous.

    Only by searching other web sites, including Wikipedia, do we learn Vision Zero’s secret: they make streets safer by slowing traffic down to a crawl. In other words, they greatly reduce the utility of the automobile. We know from various research that slower speeds means lower economic productivity.

    Yet there are better ways of making streets safer without reducing people’s mobility and income. The Vision Zero people brag that, since adopting the policy in 1997, fatality rates in Sweden have dramatically declined. Yet, in that same period, U.S. fatality rates per billion vehicle miles (a better measure than per 100,000 residents) declined by more than a third.

    Far from being some new Swedish discovery, safety has, in fact, been a high priority for traffic engineers ever since the profession began. Fatality rates in the United States fell by 50 percent between 1910 and 1922; another 50 percent by 1939; another 50 percent by 1958; another 50 percent by 1986; another 50 percent by 2008; and 15 percent more since then. There are many reasons for this steady decline, but slowing down traffic isn’t one of them. Instead, the reduction in fatalities is mainly attributable to safer road and automobile designs.

    There are many cases where faster is actually safer. The safest roads in our cities are the interstate freeways (4.1 deaths per billion vehicle miles), followed closely by other freeways (4.7), while the most dangerous are local streets where traffic is slowest (11.3). Despite faster average speeds, one-way streets are safer than two-way, even for pedestrians.

    One of the biggest one-year declines in traffic fatalities in American history was in 2008, when fatalities fell by 10 percent. One of the most important factors in this decline was the 1.9 percent decline in driving due to the recession. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, this resulted in 10 percent fewer hours of congested traffic per day and 15 percent less fuel wasted in traffic. Less congestion meant faster traffic speeds and fewer fatalities. (The other big declines were in 1932 and 1942 for similar reasons: less driving, less congestion, faster speeds, fewer fatalities.)

    Contrary to the hoopla, even slowing down cars is not going to reduce traffic deaths to zero unless, of course, cities reduce speed limits to zero. But the real point of the “Vision Zero” name is not to set a realistic goal but to silence potential opponents: “If you are not for Vision Zero, you must want to see people die in traffic.” While there’s nothing wrong with seeking to make roads safer, there is something wrong with following a cult that treats its prescription as a religious dogma and demonizes anyone who disagrees.

    Despite the questionable assumptions, the Vision Zero cult has attracted a lot of followers. Portland has joined, of course. So has Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington. Officials in many of these cities spout off about the zero-fatality goal without mentioning that this goal is unattainable and the real effect of their policies will be to reduce people’s mobility.

    Let’s make roads safer. But let’s do it cost-effectively in a way that doesn’t reduce mobility.

    • 1973-74 was also a year of a sharp reduction. The energy crisis curtailed travel on all roads due to lack of available fuel and weekend gasoline station closures. In addition, year around daylight saving time was in effect during 1974. The lingering effects of the energy crisis lasted for two more years, but by 1979-80, fatalities rose above 50,000 again despite tightening and strict enforcement of the 55 mph speed limit which was imposed in 1974 by congress.

      The most enraging thing about today’s political climate is the lack of a reasonable debate on issues. It’s stunning.

      • Hi swamp,

        “The most enraging thing about today’s political climate is the lack of a reasonable debate on issues. It’s stunning”.

        Reasonable debate is toxic to Statist propagandists, who now brand any such debate as “hate speech” or an example of “white privilege”.

        It’s not stunning at all.

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

  4. My new ride, a 2020 Ford Fusion, is just as bad for peripheral visibility as was its predecessor. Yet the tried and true method of simply LOOKING OVER ONE’S SHOULDER seems to do the trick. It does have the backup camera (not a bad idea, though it never ought to have been mandated, like others features purported for “s-a-a-a-a-a-f-t-e-e-e-e”, should be a decision between manufacturer and buyer) and also these proximity warning indicators in the side mirrors which the “warmup” salesman (a 28 y.o. kid) went out of his way to point out. I find myself ignoring these doo-hickies, to mean, it promotes laziness and inattentiveness in driving. The habit to first look in the mirror and THEN turn my head over my shoulder and TAKE A LONG LOOK, and then, when executing the lane change, to be prepared to “abort” and then EXECUTE PROMPTLY. I also notice the “assisted” steering tends to discourage quick lane changes.

    And to think that this is supposed to be a relatively INEXPENSIVE “family sedan”!

    • Hi Doug,

      About ten years ago, I attended a press event for the then-new automated/self-parking tech. The PR lady for the car company was all excited as she went into her spiel. I must have looked obviously disgusted because she asked me what I thought. I told her: I think anyone who cannot manual parallel park a car has no business in the left seat.

      Cue appalled silence.

      • eric, never speak truth to power. I just lost a job because I didn’t lease the farm to my xboss. Good riddance, he was an asshole and got pissed every time I schooled him on something on a big rig. I should have apologized I guess, since he has no CDL and I’ve had mine for 51, nearly 52 years.

        The a-hole didn’t know enough to understand if I took 60 seconds to explain something to him it wasn’t going to make a difference how many loads I could haul that day. I still got in eight, as many as could be hauled and stopped in the barn and changed a ruined tire.

        He’s the kind who never compliments anyone on their work. In fact, he’d nitpick things that either didn’t make a damn or couldn’t be done.

    • I have noticed an explosion in homelessness in the last 10 years. They are virtually under every interstate overpass these days. The economy is likely the main culprit in this as well. Most people are a about 2 paycheck s away from homelessness.

      • swamp, that can’t be correct. We have a “Booming” economy and the lowest unemployment rate “ever”. Translation, the fed is still rich beyond belief, Wall Street is going good…..whistling past the graveyard and tens of millions that haven’t found a job in a decade are off the rolls to never be counted again by the Republicans until there’s a Dem in office.

        They get basic figures from the GAO and then pick and choose. Every president has done it since I’ve paid attention but Trump had the gall to change it to unheard of levels…..much like his self=described “ultimate wisdom”.

      • T’aint the economy, Swamp- Most of the homelessness is from drug use and alcoholism, and/or people just being irresponsible- i.e. never saving; always being in heavy debt/making poor choices/having kids they can’t afford, etc.

        Think about it: We live in a welfare state, where foreigners can come who don’t even espeak-a the lingo nor have a driver’s license, and they’re not homelss, despite often doing the most menial low-paying work….work that the people living under the bridges won’t do because they’re too busy partying and getting paid not to work.

        My black friend (Conservative Republican who was making 6 figures at the time) volunteered at a soup kitchen once. She quit in short order, when she saw that the “clients” had better phones than hers, and always managed to buy cigarettes, booze and weed.

        Another thing too: It’s mostly the expensive areas where these homeless are- CA , NY, and other big metro areas where it’s very expensive to live. But they want to stay in these places. Heck, I would be homeless if I insisted on living in SF. Wasn’t far from it in NY. I knew a guy who lived in an abandoned house; when thayt was no longer an option, he moved into his van. I’d ask him “Why not just move to a place where it’s cheap to live?” and explained that there are plenty of places all around the country where you can rent a trailer for $200 a month or an apartment for $350. Wasn’t interested, ’cause NY has titty bars and good pizza and abundant freebies, and non-judgmental libruls….

        My idiot sister used to know this family of dirtbags…. They’d move into a rental house, and live there for sometimes over a year rent-free at the landlord’s expense, because the liberal do-gooders make laws which liberal activist judges apply even more liberally, so that it can take forever to get deadbeat tenants out in liberal states.

        They’d live rent-free, while using welfare money and earnings from under-the-table jobs to fund drugs for the mother and booze for the father, and new wardrobes every few months; eating out all the time, etc. etc.

        They would occasionally live under the bridges, due to sometimes not being able to fund a new first month’s rent/deposit for a new place when finally kicked out of the old; or when they needed money for legal troubles and or when their drug/alcohol-fueled behavior got out of hand.

        Makes me sick to see decent well-meaning people giving charity to such scum and feeling sorry for them, because such people can not even fathom that others would be so devoid of conscience to operate like that. They like to think that such people are the victims of circumstance.

        I’m really surprised that one of my nieces and her fambly don’t live under a bridge by now- They live in a crap house which their grown criminal meth-head baby-making kids have destroyed….everything they own is financed, including a NEW car- but the husband seems to have found a lucrative niche- selling drugs that he gets for free from Medicaid….so they’re good for now, and it won’t long till Socialist Security kicks in a rewards them with a nice “retirement”.

        In short, the “homeless crisis” is a welfare state problem- and it is most in evidence in the liberal places where their pet programs are most ubiquitous.

        • Sometimes people are homeless because of other government programs and regulations. Witness California where people have full time jobs with pay that in practically any where else in the country would rent or buy a nice place and they end up living in their cars because in California it is too little to even rent the smallest apartment.

          But hey they have rent control and restrictions on building new housing.

  5. Interesting too, that as many towns, suburbs and cities have lowered their surface-street speed limits to 25MPH…the places where most pedestrians and cyclists are found, the number of such fatalities goes UP?! Yeah, maybe it’s because drivers who are already distracted by touchscreens and cellphones pay even less attention when driving at such ridiculously low speeds!

    I don’t use a cellphone nor have any vehicles with a touchscreen, but I realize that even I am less concentrated when driving at very low speeds. I’m the kinda guy who always keeps my eye on the road….but at low speeds, even I tend to look around, and find it hard to concentrate on just driving, because driving at such low speeds is very boring, and gives one the sense that they don’t have to concentrate as much as they would at 50MPH. I find it harder to even keep a straight track in my lane at really low speeds; and I find driving much more taxing at low speeds.

    And then there’s the fact that everyone’s walking around with their head up their cellphone- and even cyclists now tend to have phones mounted on their handlebars; a GPS; heart-rate monitor, and other distractions…..

    Most pedestrian vs. car accidents are the pedestrian’s fault; the pedestrian juts out, or is where they are not supposed to be; Cyclists often ride at dusk/night with no lights, and tend to make themselves less visible in the day- especially on cloudy/rainy days, by dressing in dark colors, etc.

    In the cities, more people are cycling and walking now-a-days than in the more recent past, which of course is also going to mean higher numbers of accidents/fatalities.

    Many cities have installed a plethora of bike lanes, which are often attractive nuisances- and serve to make riding MORE dangerous, while givenm unaware cyclists a false sense of security….

    So many factors at play here. The increase in fatalities does not surprise; nor does it surprise me when the professional busybodies (who have created 90% of the problem) blame car drivers for the increase, even though it is apparent that these increases in fatalities come at a time when those same busybnodies have interfered more than they ever have previously.

    They increase “safety regulations”….and as usual, people are less safe. The predictable response will be to increasse safety measures even more…and we will no-doubt thus see an even greater increase in ped/bike vs. car accidents and fatalities….

    Oh, and I’m sure that the “bike share” programs aren’t helping either! Get a bunch of people who have no general interest in nor knowledge of road cycling to hop on a heavy crappy bike, which they likely have not ridden since they were 12, and ride in city traffic? Yeah…what could go wrong?

  6. While warming about new government regulations is always in order, I think the “external safety” stuff mentioned here is low on the list of worries. Why are external to vehicle traffic deaths on the upswing? Could cell phone screen addiction be part of the answer here? How many younger people do NOT walk staring down at screens, in the road or not? Also there are biking crashes where the biker is either looking at a screen or just careless. The mania to promote biking as an alternative to drive in large cities is crazy. Without a dedicated bike lane (no car access) bikes are extremely risky. I know this from years of biking in large city when younger.

  7. Excellent article. I only us the backup camera to see what might be directly behind me before in begin backing up. Then I use the windows and mirrors to back up, never the camera…I avoid it when trying to back up. As far as the computerization of the world…GIGO (garbage in-garbage out). Unless you can fully program human logic into these silly gizmos, the nerd-zation of the world will fail. I never wear a helmet when bike riding, just like the thousands of times us kids rode our bikes, crashed and never has any serious injuries. Forced safety has gone too far. The nanny state sucks and always will.

    • When walking up to the car I look for obstacles and kiddies, then walk around once to ‘clear’ the area. Never fasten the seat belt until I am moving forward. This way I am free to turn my body in the seat to look to the rear. You can even open the door ajar and look behind. I do not in anyway use the rear display. For one thing it cannot look under the rear of my truck. A small child or animal could easily be there and never be seen. If you have cats you might want to check the top of your tires and inside the engine compartment.

      • Cats like the radiator and many pickups you can’t see past the fan. I’ve looked before and still had cats in the fan. I’ve had a couple survive since that first “chunk’ I shut it off. That cat was in there on a nice day. It stayed out of it after that but disappeared along with many others due to a huge bobcat with 3 nearly grown “kittens”. A friend sent me a text one night of a bobcat he killed between us and the neighbors. Even though it was a female, it was the largest bobcat I’ve seen and I’ve seen plenty. Caught a glimpse of something red and nearly white when I opened the door a couple days ago. Don’t know what it was. Hope it was a small deer.

  8. Highest correlation is when we started using seat belts. Tied in with limited movement allowed feeling like protected race car drivers. Safety belts did not lower auto-related deaths, like Eric said just transferred outside the car. Now i would have to think fiddling with gadgets contributes. We used to have only a radio maybe a cassette tape.

    Central planning at its best, unintended consequences are never seen.

    • I believe the research indicates the remarkable proliferation of SUVs is a big part of the equation with regard to recent increases in pedestrian/cyclist deaths. You’re likely to roll over the hood or roof of a sedan as it strikes you, whereas an SUV or truck will slam into you without vectoring any of the force up into the air.

      I do not understand why so many people greatly prefer SUVs and trucks to lower cars and station wagons. They use more gas, cost much more to buy and maintain, and don’t *really* carry that much more cargo.

      • That’s all great if you live on paved roads, except there are no more large station wagons that are not more or less truck based.

  9. The supply chain is being taxed. The Trump tariffs are beginning to have an impact. And companies are finally waking up to the fact that there’s no copyright or patent protection in China, so any intellectual property (including circuit masks, chips and other hardware) are going to be copied. No one is making electronics in the United States. At best they might have assembly plants in the Western Hemisphere. China created a highly subsidized and lucrative supply chain basically by paying for the shipping on exports. Everyone asked how it was possible for a product to ship from Shenzhen to my doorstep for so cheap? Well, mostly because of the Communist Party propping up the locals through financing their Capex and paying for shipping, the two biggest expenses.

    I realize they’ll just “pass along” the cost of all these enhancements to the customer (and blame Trump), but if/when the customer chooses to keep their existing ride a little longer they’ll eventually cry uncle and give in, “loosing” money in the process. Or more likely they’ll cry to Uncle and get a bailout. Either way, no one is buying cars right now anyway, and it’s only going to get worse as the tariffs have more impact.

    • No offense intended but,,, What is it with “loosing” and losing”…. I see this everywhere. Are people using ‘digital voice to print’ rather than manually typing these posts? I see it a lot on Social Media posts. What gives? Curious….

        • It’s called not knowing how to write English. MetroLyrics is run by idiots and they’re always writing lyrics with “loosing my mind” or some such. I pointed it out to them one time and they decided they were correct. You can’t fix stupid. No doubt they have a song somewhere somebody had to “stand on their breaks”.

      • Typos are pretty much the norm with autocorrecting keyboards. If Eric could afford to hire someone to upgrade the comments we might be able to edit. So if you’re bothered by my typos, and aren’t paying for the site, you probably should consider clicking on the PayPal link.

        http://ericpetersautos.com/donate/

    • Just speaking to my neighbor this morning about the costs of tariffs. Steel is getting so expensive trailers have increased by 60=70% in price. People building them aren’t making any more money and probably the companies aren’t either. While Trump spoke of doing away with NAFTA, his trade tariffs accomplish the same thing.

    • RK, back in the 70s and 80s the Japs built plants of all kinds in the US, using their own labor and building materials. Nothing was bought locally. Even the housing for the japs was imported into the US. Americans who went to Japan saw the same tv sets the yanks had at home, but the ones in Japan were 3X the price of the US set. The jap consumers were paying for the subsidation of tvs in the USA.

  10. I have to admit the backup camera is great to get lined up with a trailer. But truth be known from my objective or opinion I think it possible that some of the new safety gadgets are likely distracting and cause crashes. But I strongly believe, it’s cell phones that are the real distraction and in the last few years people are forced to use their cell phones for playing their music as the source for music because cars no longer come with CD players. I still haven’t touched on texting and making calls. But look at the timeline with cars no longer having CD players and the Bluetooth in cars that tie into driver’s cell phones. Even if someone doesn’t want to use the Bluetooth and uses a cable from their phone to the car’s stereo system. Drivers must take their eyes off the road to look at the LCD screen right smack in the console. It’s like the cars are being intentionally built to distract the driver with new technology that has absolutely nothing to do with driving but turning the car into a living room entertainment center but in a moving car. That mobile entertainment center that also taps into the cell phone is where driver’s eyes are most likely zeroed in on when cyclist and pedestrians are hit by distracted drivers.

    • Mark, I can’t count the times people on their phones have moved into my lane. They must be fascinated with 24.5’s and 22.5’s. Regardless if it’s your fault(almost always is simply because it’s easy to hang the charge on truckers), you’ll still have the “accident” on your record. 3 non at fault accidents in 2 years will doom a CDL holder. Luck is often involved, bad luck. How do you avoid a wreck sitting at the back of the line in road construction? You don’t. How do you avoid the train on a blind crossing? You eventually don’t.

  11. There is a separate but sort of related issue that contributes HUGELY to the increase in “incidents” of sloppy drivers hitting things they should not.

    It has been going on for perhaps a decade and a half, maybe two. The SHAPE of the cars has radically changed…. remember the cars from the 70’s and early 80’s? Sixties, even? Where there were lots of windows, wide open view to the world round about you? Consider the Mercedes, Volvo, BMW, Rover saloons, Jaguar saloons, Minis, MOrris, even the later Austin Marina, Peugeot, Citroën, even the stupid VW Beetle, and the Euro Typ 3 models…. ALL had excellent visibility. Two of the worst were the Volvo 544, the turlleback saloon of the late 1950’s to the mid01960’s, and the replacement for that the Volvo 122. Those were the worst, yet both are light years ahead of anything on the market today. Visibillty in every direction was more than ample for safety and ease of driving.

    Today’s monstrosities make backuo cameras all but indispensible. MIrrors are tiny, stupidly convex reducing their function even further. I’ve been in a few cars with the backup camera, and the idiotic “zone lines” in the field of view, the insane beeper instilling panic with its accelerating frequency as you come within ten feet of whatever is behind you…… even when you are creeping along at a slow walk. I know people who have those, use them all the time, and STILL hit things. I’ve never had those, (would likeluy snip a wire if I did) drive a huge van with NO visibility straight back, yet have never hit anything in a quarter million miles. I can spot a trailer to pick up in usually three stages.. back up, get out, inspect, see how far back, nd how much right/left, and can almost always spot the ball directly under the couple… twist the tongue jack and drop the hitch squarely onto the ball.

  12. In my town, they first came for the downtown main street…turned it into an outdoor mall. That slowed the speeds down, and made the center island into more parking(the rare bonus). However the latest is to take streets designed in the 1950’s, and cut two lanes into one lane, a 4 foot buffer and a 3 foot bike path…traffic is already starting to conga line on those streets…and the “massive quantity” of bikes for which they built that bike lane….does not exist! But with $4.50 per gallon premium, they are attempting to drive the lower class out of their cars…

    And of course the city got on a Chicom eBus frenzy (https://en.byd.com/bus/)…so in a few years we can all count on “big city” repair assessments for battery packs for a moderate income tax base suburban town…

  13. Eric, I can personally attest to this – having all this gadgetry does make one a crappier driver…. Learnt to drive on cars without any gizmos, but just by looking all around the car through all the mirrors before moving it, the old fashioned way. And I was able to park in tight spots just fine, never touching. Now my current car in the UK though old does have driving sensors (the kind that beep whichever corner of the car has something close to it when its in reverse). After a couple years have realised I completely rely on them to get the car out of tight spots, many times just fiddling with my phone and setting up play lists when reversing out of a spot, letting the beep notify me which way to move or stop.

    Now when I go back home to see my parents and get in dads Toyota Corolla, standard Asian spec without any gizmos, gadgets, or safety crap (except mirrors, lights, and a loud horn) – I just cannot drive with any level of confidence in Karachi!! Takes me at least a week to figure out how to parallel park and even drive in tight spots with any confidence, when 10 years ago I could do it without any worry! Feel ashamed of myself!!

  14. This entire article just makes me want to shake my head. I’d say more but on a forum where someone actually thought the Nurburgring would be a good place for a bicycle, it wouldn’t do any good anyway.

  15. 60% of pedestrian deaths are the pedestrian’s own fault (NHTSA data). Bicyclists want taxpayer-funded playground-safe places to ride . Both groups refuse to take responsibility for their own safety, and demonize and blame drivers for every accident.

    • Anti-motoring new urbanists want playgrounds. Bicyclists can be just fine with the roads as they are or were. However for motorist ease and for bicyclists to have less issue with incompetent motorists wide curb lanes are nice.

    • And another point those “playgrounds” are inherently unsafe. The anti-motoring crowd is fixated with hit-from-behind car-bicycle collisions. However those are relatively rare. What gets bicyclists and bicycle riders killed are ride outs into the roadway and intersection issues. The bike lanes, the bidirectional bike lanes, the bike paths, the protected bike lanes, and countless other “ideas” protect from hit from behind but create dangers from intersection complication, create rideouts where none would be, and place bicyclists out of sight and out of mind to motorists.

      These facilities are dangerous at speeds over about 8mph. Faster riders like myself are told they are to encourage beginners and to that I say that beginners are being put into a false sense of safety because they don’t even understand the dangers of these facilities. Their slow pace is the only thing that saves them.

      Other bone headed moves were to legalize gutter passing which is a great way to get right hooked and killed.

      I could go on and on about this and have before, but real bicyclists don’t want this crap. It impedes us and puts us in danger. Many choose to ride in the remaining general traffic lanes which of course upsets motorists who think we belong in the bicycle prison. As a result I simply avoid streets with bicycle ‘infrastructure’ on them. Which leads to some motorists believing I don’t belong on the road I chose at all.

      There is no effective bicycling political group any longer. The anti-motoring crowd has pushed bicyclists out. The agenda is simply against private automobiles now. Which is why after they are done bicycling will get thrown under the bus.

      • you nailed it on all counts. We sit on top of a paradoxical house of cards. On one hand, motorists are largely virulently against cyclists as the cycling community has cast it’s lot with anti car zealots. That’s one hand. The other is that the motorists in their infinite apathy are allowing the anti-car zealots to take over every aspect of public policy. It’s getting worse and not even the National Motorists Association is able to get enough support to be able to do anything.

      • Dutch and Danish style *fully segregated* bike lanes work great in those dense urban contexts. You get grandma and little kids biking places safely. These lanes have their own traffic lights and everything.

        American urban planners see this and decide a painted “bike lane” must be a step in the right direction, when in reality these stupid lanes are literally worse than useless. All the do is shunt cyclists into the exact space where they’re going to get door’ed, slam into a pedestrian, or hit by a driver pulling out. It’s so obvious as a rider that the lanes don’t work at all, yet everyone keeps going on like these are obvious signs of progress. It’s a total cargo cult.

        Only a tiny handful of places in America have the urban density where Amsterdam style bike infrastructure would actually be financially workable, so it’s really a stupid pipe dream.

      • The dutch system is very expensive and complicated. If you want dutch level taxes on cars maybe it is possible.

        The reason people keep going on about these things in the USA is because they reserve the space of the public way from general traffic which means motorists can’t use it. The anti car people rule. They aren’t bicyclists. I’ve had discussions with these people, they are clueless about proper bicycling. They don’t even care about it when comes down to it.

  16. One of the reasons I dislike that ‘new’ Mustang along with others is the itty bitty little side windows. I almost hit a pedestrian because I could not see well out the passenger side window. Had a alert passenger in the car that noticed the person and warned me. That said, of all the near misses it was mostly the pedestrian that was the culprit. Not looking was the main reason and these damn Ijunk devices is making that worse. Responsible cyclists seem more aware and I have had fewer problems with them, except for the suicidal inclined that have little empathy for those of us needing to get somewhere and purposely blocking the way.
    Problem with the safety devices is one cannot tell when the device is broke or compromised in some way and then relying on them. These pedestrian / cyclist safety equipment is just going to make it worse.
    When flying on instruments one HAS to depend on the equipment. BUT that equipment has been tested thoroughly, there is a need, and you’re always being watched. The electronic devices they’re putting on cars are just toys,,, not tested in the real world where there is no need for them, and where they cause more distraction which is the problem to begin with.

    • Hi Ken,

      Poor visibility is a problem in all new cars, though it is especially egregious with the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger. “Chopped” (1) windows are not driven by market demand, but the result of Uncle’s interference. In his infinite, benevolent wisdom, Uncle has decreed that it is safer to drive a car that can withstand a roll over, or big side impact than one, out of which, you can actually see.

      (1) Maybe we can sue Uncle for cultural appropriation. After all, doesn’t the “chopped” car aesthetic belong to Hispanics?

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

    • Beginning in the 2007 model year, the current FMVSS 208 side impact and rollover standards began their phase in. Automakers had until 2011 to fully comply so as not to disturb model year design and production cycles. The first casualties of the new car and SUV design standards were kids in driveways. As a result, back up cameras became mandatory on crossovers and trucks beginning in 2012. I’m not sure if they are technically required in cars, but they have been installed on most models since 2015 at least.

      These standards have been in effect since the Bush administration, so it would be hard to pin it on one political party or another. NHTSA rule making operates largely independent of congressional mandates since most of those morons couldn’t find the gas and brake pedals much less know how to get rid of drivers. They have no clue.

      The war on cars is heating up and we are unequipped to deal with it since it has been fought on many fronts by opponents for over 50 years.

  17. On target again, Eric. The poor outward visibility on today’s cars plays a role in all of this as well. Vision blocking A, B and C pillars as well as huge beltines make it very difficult to see around today’s cars and trucks. While today’s cars offer arguably better occupant protecion than they did 15 years ago, it comes at a cost. Also, better occupant protection is becoming a necessity due to the increased crowding and flow conflict on major routes. If you are traveling long distances, it is downright stressful to flog through the thousands of cars that you will see on a trip. There’s someone behind you, in front of you and to your side for the whole trip, making the chance of a collision likely. It makes increased crash detection and protection almost a necessity. It’s all a mess and I’m surprised that there haven’t been huge pile ups. Maybe people have given up on long distance driving and what you see is a bunch of local travelers. I don’t know. I do get the feeling that it may come to a head in the next 5-10 years if we last that long.

  18. Eric, when the Titanic sank, it was said that we relied too much on technology then; it was said that we placed too much faith in it. Am I the only one who sees this REPEATING?

    • Hi Mark,

      Yup!

      And unlike EVs, the Titanic wasn’t a bad ship. She just had a crappy captain and some bad luck. Her sister, the Olympic, had a long and safe career ferrying passengers across the Atlantic.

      • The titanic was over marketed. The water-tight compartments were actually an ice cube tray design. The ceilings weren’t water tight, just the side walls. Not to say that didn’t make the ship better than others of its era, but it was over marketed as unsinkable.

        • Hi Brent,

          An elegant ship; yacht-like proportions – an aesthetic counterpoint to the hideous, bloated abominations of today. There’s so much ugliness around us now. This includes buildings, aircraft… everything. Compare the Empire State building or Chrysler building with “Freedom” tower… a 707 with an Airbus.

          A Miura with a new whatever-the-hell-it-is…

          • I miss old industrial design. Before stuff became cheap and/or mean looking.

            I follow a few websites and fb groups that cover old things. This came up yesterday. It’s a bakery store front from 1933. The building is still there but that piece of facade has been replaced with simple modern windows and door.

            https://tinyurl.com/y4q3rkne

            Yeah the ugly is everywhere.

          • eric, it was a beautiful ship. It was a mistake of a captain with too big an ego and not enough skill to take the course he did. It was as if he was “testing” its ability to do anything.

            I’ve seen similar all my life.

            I was about 19 and hauling a load of cotton bales to the warehouse. There was an intersection with a 4 lane I was turning onto from a two lane road. I pulled out but had my 6 blocked by my trailer, doing it by the book. The problem was I was going around a corner with a station on that side and flat driveway to the road over its entire property. So I’m going around and I am pulling back when I see a black Beetle go into the station and back into the lane I was using. I kept going and he realized he couldn’t go straight because of the tractor and the space he thought was going to be there was quickly going away. He went all the way to the powerpole and I went all the way to his bumper. I left him there for a minute, probably messing his pants.

            I backed up and let him get out and he waited for me to get around the corner, lesson learned and nothing hurt. But it doesn’t always turn out that way.

          • Back in the day, I watched “Project Runway” the fashion reality show. A couple of the fashion designers on the show used the Chrysler Building as inspiration for their clothing designs…

            • MM, maybe my absolute fav. It was made when I thought of nothing but cars and girls. If I could have just gotten the car, I had “starter” girls for it.

          • Last week I heard some rumbling that didn’t sound right. I went outside and saw a WWll Bomber. I watched it with binocs as long as i could see it, not as far as I could hear it. That was a beautiful sound.

            • A few years back, when I still had my sailboat in the water, I was soloing back out of the main inlet in my area, headed north and away from town… heard this distinctive low rumble in the distance…. gradually crescendoing over a short while. I looked round me and could not see anything. But I was convinced I was hearing multiple large radial airdravt engines. Then they came into view.. THEY…. a B 29, a couple B 17’s,and B 24’s, I think a P 3 Orion, and a tidy handful of single engine WW 2 vintage craft, all with large slow-turning radial engines. They were flying at 200 o feet off the water at the most, heading in my direction, northward. It was hard to keep my attention on my own craft, that signt and sound was awesome…
              Turns out there had been a WW II aircraft fly-in over the weekend, a live airshow at our local regional airfield. As they took off toward the west, they then curved round to the north to fly along the Sound….. There is NO SOUND like that of a large slow turning radial aircraft engine. I can even tell when the Beavers on floats the state fisheries use lands or takes off at the small wharf about a half mile from my house… I wait, and sure enough if the clouds are thin enough I can see it slowly rising up above the tall firs and bending round to the east as it slowly climbs out.

      • Jeremy, I rented a Dodge 200 and I couldn’t even see to the side out the windshield. It was too narrow but the real problem was the glass, sorry cheap stuff with lots of distortion. I thought we were past that.

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