It sounds like a mixed message to me, too. I don't really get why automakers would want to encourage risky behavior. If drivers are breaking the law by texting or talking on the phone, then shouldn't they be cited? We don't make cars that accommodate drinking while driving, so why should we make cars that accommodate these habits?
Think of the lost time sitting behind a wheel in everyday commuter traffic that could be put to better use. It's a two-fold savings, because the autonomous vehicles will supposedly handle traffic more efficiently.
I agree on both counts, Rob. On a gut level, I don't feel comfortable giving up control to an autonomous car. On the other hand, I think that in a hundred years, people will look back at our era and view us as primitive for having put up with 30,000 highway deaths per year (and that's just in the U.S.).
May be if the roads were MORE crowded people would begin (slowly) to migrate closer to work for their living quarters.
Even most "dumb" animals seem to figure out the best places to live and don't migrate too far from home. But then they don't have politicians that tell them "just stay where you are we will make things better.
The states keep telling us that more tax money will make for quicker commutes and keep our hopes up so no one moves. The only ones it seems to benefit are the asphalt paving people.
Freeways were originally designed to move military vehicles rapidly in the case of "Communist attack". Russia never attacked but finally crushed us with traffic jams.
Back in the old days people just wouldn't have lived 30 or 40 miles from work.
In my area it's common for people to spend 1 to 2 hours traveling to work.
@Bryan: I don't think it's a conscious effort to buck the rules or thumb their nose at safety. I think people are just indoctrinated in the "always connected, always on" culture so that if you're driving and your text beeps, your automatic reflex is to check it. It requires some significant will power to ignore it. Now that begs the question, why don't we all shut off our phones while in our cars. But again, the culture has evolved to the point where your office expects to hunt you down wherever you are and you're looking for a constant connection to your kids and family. It took a decade or two to get to this place where this is the expected norm. Try convincing people to go back.
@Beth, If Charles' statistics from the AAA are correct that 95% of people know it is not safe, yet 68% still do it, how can that not be a conscious decision to do something they know is not safe. Although that sounds harsh, I think we (as I use the phone with headset while driving) see it as an acceptable risk for the benefit of staying in touch. Or a drunk drives home from the bar sees that as an acceptable risk for the benefit of being home with his car. Or just like any person who drives and risks being part of that 30000 killed each year sees it as an acceptable risk for the benefit of getting somewhere. If we wanted to remain safe at all times we would never get anything done, as almost everything has some risk. The question is, is the risk acceptable in trade for the benefit.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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