When I heard that all vehicles sold in Europe from 2022 onwards are set to have speed-limiting technology, my first thought was that I needed to buy a new car by 2021.
My second thought was that my current vehicle, a Landrover Defender, already has speed limiting technology. It’s called the ‘engine’ and it ensures that speed-limits can only be broken in built-up areas. Even then, only if the roads are straight and slightly downhill.
It’s claimed that the new rules could reduce road deaths to zero by 2050. Now I’m not saying that I’m a technophobe, but I’d rather not put my life in the hands of the on-board computer, thank-you-very-much. Not on the day that Boeing announced that they’ve finally carried out software updates to the control system of the Boeing 737 Max, following two fatal crashes.
I can’t help but think that we’re heading for trouble when the cars we drive are more intelligent than the people that drive them. And I include myself in that category. One day I’ll be driving my car to the racecourse, the next day the car will be managing the racecourse – getting all hot under the bonnet about the handicapping system, field sizes and prize money.
I appreciate that it’s difficult to challenge the fact that humans are lousy drivers and are prone to having accidents. And what sane person can sensibly argue that cars need to be designed to travel faster than the speed limit? That would mean that what we really wish to do is break the law while jeopardising our lives and those of others at the same time.
No. We should always obey the law. Obviously. Even the slightly dubious ones, like the one that says you must never wear a suit of armour in parliament (no matter how much the Prime Minister feels that she may need to) and the one that makes it illegal to get drunk on licenced premises – like in pubs for example…
Perhaps we should condemn the consumption of alcohol in general, plus: the eating of chocolate bars, riding horses, climbing cliff-faces and playing contact sports like rugby. Because they’re all likely to have adverse impacts on our health or possibly even cause death. Because the nanny state knows best.
Never do anything dangerous, don’t take risks and, most importantly of all, never ever have any fun. The nanny state is most insistent that we must never cause injury or offence to any other person, even accidentally, and we must all live longer as a consequence. Except the longer I live, the more disagreeable I become and the more likely it is that someone (possible readers of this very blog) will actively plot to terminate my existence.
I’m not convinced by the idea of a risk-free society. I’d prefer to live a little: drive my car, ride a horse, imbibe the odd pint and have a flutter on this week’s selection (Set List at Stratford on Saturday).
Although you can watch the race on Racing TV, technology also allows us to stream the live pictures to a computer or mobile telephone. Which has the added benefit that, if the selection isn’t winning, you can simply switch off and switch back on again. It works for everything else…