Stephen Cox: Motoring – The War on Driving, Part I
The Stephen Cox Blog presented by McGunegill Engine Performance: Motoring – The War on Driving, Part I
Over the next few weeks you’re going to hear more about a new system called “V2V,” which stands for “Vehicle to Vehicle Communications for Safety.” It’s the latest electronic gadgetry that the government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may soon impose on all new car buyers.
The Department of Transportation claims that the V2V system will address up to 80% of all traffic accidents by alerting drivers to merging trucks, sudden braking, yellow lights and cars that move into a blind spot. This will be accomplished by an “in-vehicle alert,” most likely either an audible tone or a dash light.
The fact is that braking, yellow lights and merges occur so frequently that any alert from the V2V system will be nothing more than an annoyance to drivers who will soon dismiss it as meaningless background noise. And no one in their right mind accepts the claim that one more dash light will somehow prevent 80% of all traffic accidents.
The DOT also says that drivers will spend less time stuck in traffic because the V2V system will alert them to traffic jams prior to departure. This is another fallacy. There are ten million people in Los Angeles who know very well that they will wait in a traffic jam before they ever leave the house, yet they do so every morning. One more gadget on their dash telling them what they already know is not going to change a lifetime habit.
The reasons offered to justify the new V2V system are transparent lies. This system offers nothing that hasn’t been available for years through radio, road signs and systems such as “Safety Alert” that has been used in most radar detectors for a decade.
Instead, V2V will add unnecessary weight, cost and complexity to every new car. It will not – and cannot – live up to the claims made by the NHTSA, which is enough to make one wonder why they are so insistent on mandating it. Unfortunately, there is only one plausible answer.
Remember those little tab thingies you see on the ears of farm cows? Well, now they have one for you. The V2V system turns you and your passengers into cattle. The system will broadcast your location, direction and speed in real time every moment your key is in the car.
Every place you go will be tracked in real time and stored forever. Big Brother will literally map your life. Of course, they will claim that all data is erased and that you’re not being tracked, mapped and spied on daily. That’s what the NSA said about your phone calls, too. We all know how that turned out.
The V2V system may also have the potential to check your weight – not your car’s weight, but your weight – your vehicle’s rate of fuel consumption, the radio station you’re listening to, and the number of passengers in your vehicle.
It is not difficult to envision the day when the system will include an automated breathalyzer that spies on every driver and sniffs the air for an open container, feeding that live, constant stream of information to your masters in real time. It is even easier to imagine this data being used to create a tidal wave of new traffic citations for cash-starved municipalities.
The V2V system is simply the latest battle in the government’s continuing War Against Driving. Your automobile was once considered your personal domain of privacy where your liberty and security was assured. But the NHTSA’s V2V system will reduce every motorist to the same level as a registered sex offender whose ankle bracelet reports their every move, except that your car’s tracking system will report far more information and cannot be taken off.
Brace yourself. The NHTSA will announce by January whether every new car buyer in America will be forced to have V2V in their new car… whether they want it or not.
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