Flutterby™! : On killing pedestrians

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On killing pedestrians

2012-08-09 23:20:44.591333+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

What I find most interesting about Wired.com: How Your Smartphone Could Stop a Car From Running You Over isn't my previous whines about what sort of idiot engineer thinks that we can equip every child's ball with a WiFi transponder, it's that I'm seeing this in the context of Strongtowns.org: The Original Highway Code, which has some fascinating quotes about how the motor vehicle code changed when we went from seeing killing people with a vehicle as murder, or at least negligent manslaughter, to seeing it as "an accident", and where the legal view of the road went from something for everyone's use, to something for automobiles as the primary user.

That the basic assumption behind this, "pedestrians should wear transponders so they don't get run over", can be expressed without outrage, shows just how far that cultural shift has gone. In some ways it's akin to the sentiment in rural areas that during hunting season, when you go outside you should wear orange clothing and make lots of noise: these people are waving around dangerous weapons, and you should take special measures that the morons don't kill you.

We're only a short step from that to short skirts, frankly.

How do we move back to a culture of driver, or if not driver then vehicular, responsibility? What can we as a culture do to grab the engineers proposing this (and the federal bureaucrats funding this stuff) by the metaphorical shirt collars and slap them downright silly until they at the very least start putting those resources into better sensor and accident avoidance technologies.

If it can't be the driver's responsibility to not run down pedestrians, maybe it can be the automobile's.

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#Comment Re: made: 2012-08-10 11:16:50.569014+00 by: DaveP

But we don't live in a culture of responsibility at all. Sideshow Bob wasn't responsible for gunning down those people in Aurora, it was the evil guns he had. Obama isn't responsible for the gajllions of dollars spent during his time in office, it was all Bush's fault. Bush wasn't responsible for setting up the spending, it was the economy's fault. Congress certainly couldn't be responsible since there's a president or two we can hang the blame on....

Tagging pedestrians so they don't get run over by cars (note the use of the passive, implying a lack of responsibility) seems perfectly reasonable in this kind of world.