I’m a personal injury lawyer in Denver. I like safe stuff! It’s in my nature. I’ve seen too many victims of car accidents and motorcycle accidents not to become the “Safety Steve” in my household and hold some natural appreciation for the concept of safe cars. But even I am wondering about all the new tech gadgets that seem to be coming off the assembly lines that I wonder if the development of safe cars has gone too far. Here’s a list I’ve compiled from random readings:
Lane departure warnings: Alerts you when your car is switching lanes without a signal
Driving for you
Stopping for you
Giant screens: These actually astonish me. We are having fatalities all the time from people using little screens – their phones – and we are literally seeing television screens placed in dashboards with thumb controls to scroll the screen, much like the “old” cars had radio volume control on the steering wheels. What our drivers need like a hole in the head is more visual distractions.
Reverse alert: Do we really need our cars to beep at us like bulldozers when we put them in reverse? I’m talking about the beeps at the driver, not outside the car. The beeps that say, “Hey, did you know you just put the car in reverse?” Really?
Beeps: Lots of them. To let you know you’re speeding. To let you know you’re near another bumper. To let you know you’re switching lanes. To let you know you need a bathroom break. (OK, I made that one up.) It’s going to sound like a hospital ward in our cars.
Cloud connections: Alright, that’s cool. I admit it. The car is like a cloud itself, floating among the ether while you stay connected to absolutely everything. (DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE. I wonder if someday we’ll be saying, “DO NOT SKYPE AND DRIVE.” I’m sure it’s happened. *Sigh*)
I’m actually a tech-geek at heart. I have a pen that remembers what I write! Love it! But my jury is still out on how helpful all of this safe car technology might be in actually keeping us safe. I guess we all need to stick to the #1 fundamental: be a defensive driver. No computer will ever be a replacement for good old common sense.
Safe cars: technology interesting and entertaining
Excerpt: “I understand that these intrusive systems are designed to counter worst-case drivers — the drunk, the drowsy and the otherwise impaired. But that’s the problem. The technology treats all drivers as worst case. That gets irritating. Automakers, which spend billions to make consumers love their products, should consider this: Do you want to nanny-up your cars to the point where your customers just don’t like driving them?”
Excerpt: “Coming to the newly revamped E-Class sedan this year, the cockpit boasts two separate screens that are actually just one long HD-quality monitor. The left half of this long screen serves the driver, the right half is geared toward driver and passenger. Both displays are highly customizable, which is a growing trend in automobiles today. You can choose to show just old-fashioned auto and engine speed gauges, or a combination of gauges and road map.”
Excerpt: “Microsoft has teamed up with Volvo to bring some vehicle function controls to its Band 2 fitness wearable. Similarly, Ford and Amazon have hooked up to link the Echo to its connected cars, meaning you’ll be able to unlock your vehicle from inside your home or ask Amazon’s Alexa system questions from behind the wheel.”