We know that people drive while talking on cell phones, while putting on makeup, while changing clothes, while eating dinner, while searching through CDs, while intoxicated, while half asleep, while reading, while air drumming, while making out, while reaching into the backseat to discipline their kids.
There are countless scary things that might be happening in the couple of tons of metal approaching you at 75 mph on the road. And who hasn’t seen a car or truck weave into their lane and felt that rage, wondering what in the heck is wrong with that idiot who doesn’t respect the centerline?
Amazingly, in the future, that fool who swerves toward you may be blogging on his computer.
Here’s a quote from a CNN article I read this past week titled “Technology’s next frontier: In-car computing.”
“In March, Ford will release a fully functional, dashboard computer — complete with keyboard — geared to contractors and other business folks who want to access the Web, review documents and log inventory while on the go,” the article stated. “In the spring, AT&T will launch an in-car entertainment service with 22 satellite TV channels.”
I sure hope no bailout money goes toward these hairbrained ideas. Of course, these innovations are touted as technological breakthroughs — ways for busy people to “move seamlessly between their digital lives at work and home.”
Or, perhaps, move seamlessly into the grill of a Mack truck.
“Consumers want a vehicle that’s always on and always connected,”” said Kieran O’Sullivan, vice president at Continental Automotive Systems, which supplies parts and technology to automakers.
In the near future, he said, “consumers and carmakers will be able to customize the [dashboard] instrument panel to their individual tastes the same way that people customize their mobile phones.”
These technological “breakthroughs” include a new system by Hyundai that “lets motorists know when they start to drift out of the lane.”
I guess that’s necessary because their eyes will be too busy with matters more important than vehicular homicide, like checking their Facebook page.
Now, I consider myself to be on the old side of the generational divide when it comes to technology. While I maintain this newspaper’s website, I have never submitted a blog comment to any website. I have never participated in MySpace or Facebook. I have a cell phone, but I prefer to keep it off. And I generally don’t want to do anything with that phone, except talk when arrangements are being made. I have never sent a text message and am annoyed when I get one.
But I understand the appeal of toys, at least to some extent. The iPhone is pretty cool, with all that it can do. I don’t care to spend my money that way, but I understand why other people do.
But the notion of a dashboard computer — you mean, people actually like this idea? What’s up with these folks? Could such a marketing pitch really take root? If so, what does this say about our common sense?
I hope lawmakers understand the absurdity of such plans and enact legislation banning the installation of computers on dashboards. Likewise, I think TVs mounted anywhere in the driver’s view should also be illegal. Most people would object, but I would even be in favor of banning cell phone use while driving, or, at the very least, outlawing texting while driving.
The roads are scary enough now. We don’t need to compromise our safety even more out of allegiance to gadgetry and Google.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.
Excellent opinion. Take it one step further. There should also be no drinking of liquid beverages, no eating, or doing anything other than driving while operating a motor vehicle. Even cigarette smoking could be included.
That way those people who only THINK that they are able to multitask, can be held criminally and civilly responsible for the lives and property that their negligence has damaged or destroyed.
Also, you used the word "hairbrained". While technically acceptable, the more proper word is "harebrained". From the fact that a hare has a small brain. I would only point this out because you are a journalist.
We need to be writing to our Congressmen and Senators to let them know that those of us who are focused drivers should not be at the mercy of the "Harebrained" ones.