The Obama administration is proposing to spend nearly $4 billion over 10 years to accelerate the acceptance of driverless cars on U.S. roads, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.
The idea is to curb traffic fatalities and reduce travel delays.
We need to put the brakes on this idea. Here’s why:
The federal government is more than $19 trillion in debt. (That looks like this: $19,000,000,000,000.) We don’t need to add $4 billion to that just to legitimize brainwashing the U.S. public into accepting some liberal idea that will only help auto manufacturers jack up the prices of their products. Mercedes-Benz already is out there with an almost fully automated SUV – the sporty GLC, which “starts at only” around $40,000. What percentage of the U.S. driving population can afford that?
If anybody wants to “sell” acceptance of driverless cars, let the automakers manufacture a few, twist the arms of Congress to pass whatever legislation is necessary to legally operate said vehicles on public byways, and then let sales determine the “acceptance” level. Put the burden on transportation interests in the private sector, with their deep pockets.
Driving is fun and enjoyable for many people. Moreover, if they don’t want to drive, they know they can take a cab, a limousine, a bus, a train or an airplane – or they can let a friend or a family member drive.
Isn’t it ironic that we would want to develop cars that “talk” to each other when we can barely even talk effectively among ourselves? Our stagnant Congress for the past seven years is a perfect example, as is the quality of communication between Capitol Hill and the White House. But what about the proliferation of personal devices? Doesn’t that show how we have developed a new ability to communicate? If it were possible to monitor the content of the millions of I-pad exchanges, twitters and tweets, 97 percent of them would be potty-mouth commentaries, back-stabbing jabs, mindless pap and useless misinformation.
So, we’re bound and determined to spend $4 billion in an effort to finally find a bona fide usefulness for device communication, now that space exploration is being turned over to the private sector? Why not put that $4 billion into something practical – such as a savings account, or a tax cut, or the Social Security Trust Fund that Congress has robbed for so many years to infuse the General Fund rife with so many sweetheart deals?
Certainly we’re all in favor of saving lives. But can anybody guarantee that driverless cars will significantly help lower highway fatality rates? Moreover, we need to see convincing evidence that driverless cars will mitigate traffic delays when driver-populated vehicles are still on the road.
OK, so this $4 billion initiative bears fruit, and we start seeing driverless cars on the streets and highways. One of them hits you, totals your car, kills somebody riding with you and blinds you in one eye? Who you gonna sue? The automaker? The dealership that sold the driverless car to its owner? The federal government that promoted the idea in the first place? Moreover, can you envision the dire effect that driverless cars will have across the board on our auto-insurance premiums?
The “let Uncle Sam do it” nanny state already is overweight. And we want to add to that by vacating driver’s seats? How can we continue to teach responsibility on such a broad scale when the task related to that responsibility is taken away? Does it make sense to give up the opportunity to further develop critical thinking among those who want to operate a motor vehicle – particularly our youngsters?
President Ronald Reagan perhaps said it best: “We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”