Street safety for me but not for thee

I saw an ad for the Kia Forte this morning. Apparently called Talent Show, it was hawking the Kia’s emergency breaking detection system. Basically, Kia was saying, look, we know everyone’s a shitty driver and none of us really pay attention to what we’re doing, so we developed this technology to keep you from killing people.

(Just kidding about that last part. From the ad, the technology is there so you don’t smash up your pretty new car.)

The ad reminded me of this story about Transport Canada mandating back-up cameras in new cars. This new regulation seems wise, but it also concerns me that we’re just going to use technology to replace driver competency (which might be fine in driverless cars, but we’re not talking about driverless cars here).

I’m going to put aside my fears that we’re breeding really dangerous drivers, for now. Let’s ignore any possible unintended consequences and assume that these developments in technology and regulations will help protect us from the inherent dangers of people driving cars.

If so, why the hell don’t we take the same care in making sure all street users are protected from the unavoidable threat that is the Canadian driver? Why don’t we mandate safer streets, rather than back-up cameras?

Of course, there are reasons we do this. None of them reflect well on our society.

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