Re: GPS Car speed control advancing in UK

From: Chris Russo (
Date: Sun Jan 28 2001 - 14:43:51 MST

At 12:10 -0500 1/28/01, wrote:
>Ugh - I read this with dread. As someone who has always gotten pleasure out
>of high-performance cars (and other machines) (see:
>, I sincerely hope this kind of
>technology WILL be used to improve the safety and reliability of autos and
>other transportation technology, but that it won't tempt the nannies to
>castrate high-performance cars.

Oh, they will. Even with new technologies, speeding will once again
be the targeted infraction, since it will be the easiest to enforce -
while other (seems to me) more dangerous infractions, like sailing
through red lights will remain common and relatively unpunished.

>What I wouldn't at all mind seeing and something I've thought about before is
>employing technology to allow multiple classes of driver's licenses and to
>regulate speed in proportion to a machine's capabilities and the road
>conditions it encounters. I would gladly pay more for, take a test to get
>and tolerate some slight intrusion into my road-going privacy to be able to
>legally drive faster than current law allows.

[some good ideas snipped]

Oh, the number of times I've pitched very similar ideas to friends
and family. I would willingly take extra classes, conform to more
stringent car requirements, and even subject myself to checkpoint
verifications - whatever it would take.

One time, I tried to teach my grandmother how to play Frogger on the
computer. She gave it a good effort, but her hand-eye coordination
were such that it was hopeless. She could barely get across a couple
of lanes of traffic after we played around with it for an hour. How
on earth is it that this dear, sweet, but spastic lady and I are
bound by the exact same rules for driving? When you also consider
that she drives a big unwieldy boat-sized Cadillac, and I drive a
small nimble S2000, the performance gap between the two of us on the
road is wider still.

Unfortunately, this nation's equality of outcome mentality restricts
us from being able to consider that different drivers might have
drastically different levels of ability.

It wouldn't hurt if the driving community were treated a bit more
like the flying community. I took flying lessons last year, and the
commitment level of pilots vs the commitment level of drivers is so

Learning to drive a car was a joke. If you could just achieve basic
mastery of the skills needed, you were done. Communication issues,
like using turn signals; emergency issues, like what to do if you hit
an ice patch; and protocol issues, like how to handle an intersection
with the lights out were just mentioned briefly during drivers' ed.

In flying, you're *required* to work on your communication skills
until you get it down pat. In flying, you're actually placed in
emergency situations and trained to handle them in a step-by-step
manner. In flying, you circle round and round the traffic pattern,
communicating your position and intentions until it becomes second
nature. It's more than just about practicing until you can basically
"get by". Pilots who can just "get by" don't "get by" FAA examiners
the way that drivers "get by" DMV testers.

The flying world also allows for different privileges given to pilots
with different levels of training, which speaks more to the ideas you
mentioned, Greg.


Chris Russo

PS. No, I don't have my VFR license yet. I've got all my
requirements out of the way except for testing - which I haven't yet
found time to complete. Maybe this summer. :P

"If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that I am wrong in thought 
or deed, I will gladly change.  I seek the truth, which never yet 
hurt anybody.  It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance 
which does harm."
              -- Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS, VI, 21

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