When Saaaaaaaafety Isn’t . . . And You Don’t Get a Choice

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The problem with saaaaaaaaaaaafety – the mandated by government variety – is that sometimes, it’s not. Which brings up the real problem, which is that our safety is put at risk by the government.

Which is especially offensive because the risk would be avoidable – if we had any say in the matter. Which you’d think we would, given it’s our lives at risk – not the lives of the arrogant control freaks and busybodies who are “the government.”

They are the people who won’t take no for an answer – and who answer our no’s with guns.

Or blood.

Ours.

There are many examples of this inversion of morality – this assertion of proprietary interest in our persons (there’s a name for that, too). The latest is the slamming on of a car’s brakes when there’s no reason to stop – but the saaaaaaaaaaaafety system went into Joe Biden mode and decided to hit the brakes on behalf of the driver.   

This is styled Automated Emergency Brake Assist – one of the latest “advanced driver assists” – as they are styled – that has either been formally fatwa’d by the busybodies and control freaks who are “the government” of de facto fatwa’d by the various car companies, in the manner of corporations imposing Face Diapering policies that serve as de facto laws to the same effect.

It is almost impossible to find a car that isn’t equipped with brakes controlled by a kind of electronic (and occasionally senile) Joe Biden, that sees objects not there and jams on the brakes to avoid them. With potentially unsafe consequences if the car behind doesn’t also brake – which possibility is probably greater because its driver anticipated no need to.

Nissan is one of the automakers having issues with unneeded because no emergency braking. According to the trade journal Automotive News, Nissan is “aware” of at least 1,400 complaints about its cars stopping when there’s no reason to but the system decided to.

Hilariously – ironically – the Center for Auto Safety, which has been pushing for the mandating of “advanced driver assistance” technology – is up in arms about this technology:

“False braking not only endangers the occupants (of the vehicle) but puts all surrounding road users at risk.”

Eureka!

And yet, the Center does not pursue the logical – the moral – course.

If these “advanced drive assists” put any driver – or nearby anyone else – at risk, then it is unacceptable for them to be installed in any vehicle. Not only – to use the emotionally incontinent eructations of the saaaaaaaaaaafety peddlers – because it might save a single life. But – much more profoundly – because the de facto and de jure mandatory installation of this technology takes away control over our lives as well as the lives of others.

If a driver – sans “assistance” applies the brakes in a reckless manner – as by slamming them on for no good reason, with the result being a chain-reaction pile-drive accident daisy chain – then blame can be affixed where it belongs.

Around the neck of the responsible party.

The driver.

But who is responsible when a car stops itself when there is no sound reason for it to do so? Who is to blame – and who should be held accountable for the damage, including possibly the deaths, which result from this  . . .hiccup?

A limited-liability corporation? The software? Cue Jell-o, nail and wall.

In written complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety (sic) Administration, thousands of motorists have described instances of abrupt braking at highway speeds. Specific types of infrastructure also appeared to be triggers for problems — bridges, railroad tracks and parking garages, for example. Some drivers reported multiple instances of what is being styled phantom braking.         

Nissan said it knows of at least 30 allegations of “minor collisions” stemming from automatic emergency braking incidents, and 10 reports alleging “minor injuries.”

Isn’t it lovely?

And it gets even more so.

The American Automobile Association – another pusher of “advanced driver assistance” technologies – just released the result of a survey (see here) of the competence of these “advanced driver assistance” systems using several different makes/models of vehicles equipped with them and found, among other lovely things, that the cars failed to automatically brake in an actual emergency 66 percent of the time.

There’s more!

Over the course of 4,000 miles of real-world driving, AAA researchers experienced 521 “events,” which ought to be stated as Joe Biden Moments. These occurred about one every eight miles. Nearly three-quarters of those issues involved “events” with Lane Keep Assist/Steering Assist – another “advanced driving assistance” technology.

I have personal experience with all of these “driver assistance” systems, in practically every make/model vehicle currently available – because I get them to test drive and review.

I can tell you, not anecdotally and not based on “data” but on actual experience, that Joe Biden Moments are far from uncommon – and much creepier than Joe. Because Joe isn’t trying to kill me.

Well, scratch that. But you see the point.

I’ve had cars with “advanced driver assistance” technology literally screech to a halt in the middle of the road with nothing in the road – and, thankfully, nothing on the road behind me. I could literally have been killed if a Peterbilt had been on my tail that time.

I have had cars jerk the wheel in the opposite direction I was trying to steer – and into the opposite lane of traffic. Were I not a strong man – and an alert driver – I could have been killed.

Or killed someone else.

Rather, the car – Sleepy Joe’d by its “advanced driver assistance” technology – could have.

It would surely save at least one life to shelve these creepy – and sleepy – systems. And it would serve the far more important end of placing responsibility for safely controlling the car in the hands of the driver, where it belongs.

. . .

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18 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not in the market for a new car… Ever… But I’d like to know what fuse will disable these systems. I already pull my srs, abs and tpms fuses and blacked out the dash lights on my 2006 honda. I disable the srs because I dont want a fender bender to total the car with airbag and seatbelt pretensioner deployment. I disable the abs and tpms because I hate not being able to lock the brakes up on dirt or snow. I also hate the idea of fritzing electronics getting in between me and full stop which is a real problem with abs. VSA also causes a lack of power on slick or loose surfaces where you may need it most. I disable TPMS out of spite because who doesnt hate TPMS.
    So, what fuses for lane assist and brake assist? Workarounds for popular ASS systems would also be nice to know.

  2. I like to watch the car accident vids on YT. Russia, US, Australia, Canada, where ever. And I notice a lot of late model cars that brake for no reason, or that swerve for no reason and devastating accidents occur. Cars, trucks, suvs. A lot of suvs. Often wonder why someone would pass a semi, get in front of the rig, and then hit the brakes when the road is clear ahead. It is most likely due to the activation of some “saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety system. The car drivers often look in shock. Like why did this happen?
    You see a car driving at high speed and all of a sudden swerve for no reason. Now we know why. Good reasons to have a dashcam as required equipment. These events must be picked up by the black box now installed in all new cars. Never hear about those boxes being used to research the cause of these accidents.

    • Darn, to5, I watch those vids too- and what you said never even occurred to me! I’ll bet in a lot of cases you are correct!

  3. I drive a lot of rental cars for work and more of them have that crap on board. I’m driving down the interstate with the cruise on, well aware of the car ahead that I’m going to have to change lanes to pass in another twenty seconds–because I don’t drive with my head up my ass–but suddenly instead of 70 the speed’s dropping off. WTF, car, you patronizing piece of crap? I’ve been driving for 45 years without a single accident. I don’t need a CPU and some wires telling me how to drive. Is that a big problem that needed to be solved? People constantly crashing into the back of vehicles they’re overtaking to pass? It used to be that if a car randomly and abruptly jerked the wheel out of your hands you took it to the shop to find out what the hell its problem was. You didn’t pay extra to make it do that.

  4. I have 2020 F150 with, get this label, “pre collision assist”. I thought you would want to *avoid* collisions, but oh well: Ford doesn’t have the best English dept. Anyway, it would beep at me at times, but I was able to turn it off. Now when I start the car, the menu for this is the first thing that pops up, to turn it back on. Thankfully, it defaults to whatever it was set to, vs defaulting to ON.

  5. The goal is just as nefarious as the technology is. The very idea that one can achieve absolute safety is preposterous. Especially when mechanical systems are involved, since there is no such thing as a mechanical system that never fails. It’s become evident to me, since I started using it, that the same applies to computer systems, both hardware and software. If man made it, it’s going to break. We were all born with a talent, and learn a skill that has worked for millennia. It’s called judgement. Like any other skill, if you don’t use it, it will evaporate. One thing we can be sure of. If the Psychopaths In Charge are in control, we are controlled by the insane.

    • Hi JWK,

      Indeed. More fundamentally, it is an expression of personal ownership – of ourselves – to weigh and assume risk for our ourselves. This idea that the government – which is just a small group of other people vested with power – has the moral right to “keep us safe” is nauseating. It smacks of condescension, of parenting idiot children.

  6. All this tech should be turn off-able. And not the kind that you have to turn it off every time you start the vehicle either. An actual OFF switch that you have to turn back ON to make it work again. Same thing with things like ASS too. Just one time and its off, forever if you chose to.

    Stuff like this should be opt in rather than opt out. You should have to chose to use it if you want, not have to chose to turn it off (if its even possible, which some of it isn’t).

    However we really aren’t an opt in or out society anymore. The decisions have been made for us. Mostly at the federal level.

    I have a friend who reports on the the doings of a rural county board on his blog, since the local paper no longer bothers. What strikes him about this county board is that they rarely actually get to decide on anything. They merely react to mandates and regulations created by the federal and state governments. Many times those mandates and regulations don’t do the rural area much good or cause major problems since they were decided by people that live in the city. They have no idea what a rural area is about. So you get things that are very out of touch with reality.

  7. This is why lately, I’m thinking of ditching my plans for a ’21 Bronco (Lapse in judgement/hype), saving up $$$ and then getting myself a classic muscle that I can finance.

    I mean, how hard is it to make a daily out of a classic now with an 5/6spd stick, 4 disc brakes and what ever else aside from an engine swap to make a beastly alt daily?

    • Hi Zane,

      I recommend this – but unless you have a lot of money to spare, I recommend avoiding the classics and going for something off thebeaten path… for example, the Maverick sedan I just discovered a few days ago… I bet it’s available for less than $3k and I call dibs!

      • Does sound nice, but I’m the guy who’d make something happen anyway.

        Even when I was paying off my other vehicles, I did FBO, so what’s saving up a little to make a classic perform better.

        IF that doesn’t work, always the 80s and 90s to look into

        • Eric already told me. I’m willing to advise regarding it. Except for a few months in 1993 I’ve had a maverick somewhere in my life since 1975. Although all my 4 door only knowledge comes cars I’ve seen in junkyards but anything I don’t know I know where to find out and who to ask.

          Pretty much I’m only buying another maverick if it’s V8 Grabber or Brazilian Ford Maverick GT. Unless I get enough land to be a car hoarder in which case all bets are off.

        • Morning, Nunz!

          He knows!

          I don’t know yet whether the car is for sale. I spied it in the back, fenced-in lot of a repair shop. It gives off an available vibe and I plan to find out as soon as tomorrow, if I can get the time to swing by the joint. If the car is sound and drivable and the price is right, I may (cue Arnold voice) do it… do it now. I might have to sell a bike to make it happen. But having something without a got-verdammt computer that I can drive every day (which isn’t the TA) might just be worth it…

          • Awesome, Eric! That’s about the only way to find a decent deal these days on an old car.

            I briefly dated a girl once in the early 90’s who drove an old Maverick- not my cup of tea (The girl or the car!), but it’d sure fit the bill for a daily driver!

            Hope it works out for ya!! Just the idea of a “real car” is so appealing…. I’d much rather have something like that from the 70’s (or better yet, the 60’s) than even that 80-something Cutlass you mentioned a while back- even though they were great cars too. 70’s were more “real”- even the good cars from the 80’s seemed like transitions.

  8. Riding a motorcycle is almost a death wish today with these new automotive driver assist crap. Several times I have had a near miss with one of these. For sure one occurred a week or so ago, The car slammed on the brakes. I had enough distance where I went into a parking lot. The lady looked at and threw her arms up in the manner saying she didn’t know what was happening. I have since increased my distance even more but that pisses off those with a need for speed behind me that don’t know why I am doing it. Being flipped off and called a clover is no fun especially if you are a reader in good standing? on Erics site.
    We do NOT have the technology to do this correctly. The camera’s and radar equipment isn’t good enough for these functions. The programming is still in the infantile stage regardless of what they say. That they haven’t killed or injured more people is testament to the driving skills of the average Driver.

  9. Spot on Eric. I work for a manufacturer that has one of the better systems out there. I have to deal with people’s concerns all the time. Even on my own company car, I’ve had plenty of experiences similar to what you mention. Once I had to fight the wheel pretty hard to avoid the lane keeping assist system from driving my right into the center barrier.

    • Thanks, Mattacks!

      It perpetually astounds me that more coverage of this is not in evidence. Then I remind myself that honest journalism is like a chaste hooker…

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