Looking to things rather than people for solutions – again

Yesterday I pointed out that banning guns, or alcohol, or whatever, because they are misused by people, is missing the point.  If people’s choices, characters and behaviors are the problem, banning an object, a thing, won’t solve it.  Only changing the true underlying cause(s) will cure it.

Today we see yet another example of that.

It’s the most devastating mistake imaginable: Parents killing their own children when they accidentally back their vehicles over them.

Dozens of children have died in such accidents this year alone. Technology exists that could eliminate drivers’ blind spots and prevent the accidents from occurring — so why hasn’t the government required it?

Six years ago, Congress mandated a new rear-visibility standard for all new cars and gave the U.S. Department of Transportation a 2011 deadline to get it done. But the reforms have been delayed four times now, and the DOT says it needs until 2015 to put requirements in place.

Now safety groups and victims’ families are teaming up to fight for faster results. On Wednesday morning, they are filing a federal lawsuit demanding that the DOT require rear-view cameras in all new vehicles.

There’s more at the link.

Friends, allow me to assure you of one thing.  If those parents had made damn sure they knew where their kids were at all times;  if they’d bothered to do a walk-around of their vehicles before getting in and starting them;  if they’d made sure that their kids were supervised, and not free to wander where they pleased;  then none of those fatalities would have occurred.  If rear-view cameras are mandated on all vehicles, as they want, some children will still be run over by their parents from time to time, because some of the latter will still be bloody irresponsible!

I know many will say that the cameras may save a proportion of those who would otherwise be run over.  That’s true.  Some irresponsible people may be saved from the consequences of their irresponsibility in some instances.  However, the cure for the problem is not to burden everybody with increased costs and vehicle complexity.  The cure is to get parents to be responsible adults . . . but that’s a pipe-dream.  It will never happen.  There will always be irresponsible parents, and as a result, children will go on dying in this way, rear-view cameras or no rear-view cameras.

That’s the way it is.  It’s been that way since the dawn of time, and it’ll be that way until the heat death of the universe.  Human nature remains as fickle as ever it was.




  1. I've seen commercials for a top-of-the-line mini van (BMW?) that appears to have an auto-brake that triggers when something appears within a certain distance of the rear bumper. Which raises questions about 1) parallel parking, 2)liability {if you still run over someone, do you get off because "the car should have stopped me"?} and 3) just how much will it cost to replace the bumper and sensors after an accident?


  2. You don't think the bleeding hearts are paid by the people who are trying to get their technology mandated into new vehicles?

    Or maybe I'm just cynical.

  3. Funny you should mention this. I drove a car with a rear-view camera (Chevy Cruze) for a week this month — it was a rental from Avis.

    True, its low seating position and high trunk lid made it hard to see what was close behind me by just looking over my shoulder. I blame the designers.

    But the insidious thing is that once you have the camera, you start depending on the camera. It's the old screen hypnosis.

    Then you are likely to miss something off the rear quarter that is coming or close by but not yet seen by the tiny wide-angle lens!

  4. The mandated gear is not foolproof.

    A reduction is likely, but insurance stats suggest saving every life is not a done deal.

    Nor has the cost/benefit proven to where the insurance industry has demanded the cameras in order to save on claims.

    That said, I very much personally find cameras and sensors a driving aid, augmenting rather than substituting for the pre-movement clearing techniques such as taught in many advanced driving skills programs.

    The lobbying by the killers and by victims' families is part heart in the right place and part blame-diisplacement suggesting technology (or the lack of) is being blamed for deadly driving & parenting habits.

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