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Privacy Technology

Spies Riding Shotgun 353

Posted by michael
from the i-called-it-first dept.
Slashdot has covered before the proliferation of black boxes - event data recorders - in modern automobiles, that automatically record data about what the car has been doing and make it available after the fact to police, insurance companies, and people suing you - just about everyone except you, in fact. We'll add to that with yet another story about the computerized spy riding shotgun in your new car.
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Spies Riding Shotgun

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  • by tarquin_fim_bim (649994) * on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:20PM (#10876889)
    ..to the day when my every every bowel movement is recorded for the enjoyment of future generations.

    "You can't shut it off, and you can't manipulate it," I had that trouble when I had a Ginseng and Viagra chaser.
  • by TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:27PM (#10876936)
    This is an absolute invasion of privacy! Imagine: recording every questionable driving decision you make. I wonder where I can get one for my daughter's car?
  • Pure Speculation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mike Rubits (818811)
    I was expecting actual abuses of the system, but half of the article is about the things that can potentially happen? Sure, the Earth can implode tomorrow, but those aren't getting front page stories on Slashdot.

    Are there any cases where this has been abused? Why not post those?
    • Are there any cases where this has been abused? Why not post those?

      Since you obviously didn't RTFA (looking at your question), let me point out an instance from TA:

      In California, a federal court slapped the hands of investigators who tapped into illicit in-vehicle conversations via the car's built-in communications system

      and further:

      Rental car companies also have come under fire for using global positioning satellite data to track driving habits

      To usurp Clarke's quote, "any technology sufficiently ad

  • I love my car.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EngMedic (604629) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:31PM (#10876960) Homepage
    I drive a '92 Honda Civic CX (nobody has them, they suck that much). It's a total hunk of junk, but i love it. It does precisely what i tell it to (at speeds of under 60 mph -- it don't accelerate too well), gets 35 mpg, and takes me from point A to point B. Now i have another reason -- because it's not looking at what i'm doing.
    • Re:I love my car.. (Score:2, Informative)

      by AC5398 (651967)
      It was in the newspaper a few months ago. There had been an accident on the local highway involving several cars - you know the scene, one guy driving too close to another, the guy in front brakes, and suddenly 5 cars crash into each other. And suddenly another guy crashes into the cars and there's a second pileup.

      A number of witnesses swore blind to the cops that the guy had made no attempt to slow down and was speeding. Cops asked for, and were given, permission to access the black box data, which con
      • Well, as far as I'm concerned all tail gaters(people who drive too close) ought to be shot anyway. So no real loss if he got charged for an unrelated crime.
    • As long as you can get to D, aka the pub.
  • by LordZardoz (155141) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:32PM (#10876962)
    In a fiction series I read recently (Hominids / Humans / Hybreds by Robert J. Sawyer), in the Neanderthal world, everyone had an implanted companiion that recorded everything their host did, and uploaded it to an Alibi Archive. Essentially, everyone had a personal blackbox that they could look through later, or that could be used against them in criminal proceedings.

    One of the effects this had was that no one would be able to make false accusations against you, because your alibi archive would vindicate you instantly. It also meant that no one could really get away with crime.

    Of course, that view of things was largly utopian. The general arguement against this sort of tech in reality is that humans tend to be corruptible. So I dont think that trying such a concept for every person is ideal.

    However, for things like using a car, I dont see it as a problem. As long is the recording media is practically impossible to tamper with, (in so far as any attempt to alter the contents would be detected as an alteration). And also, the laws would need to be written such that they could only demand to see very specific time segments in the recording. Assuming that only yourself and government authorities could access it, it would solve alot of problems.

    - No one would drive like an asshat if someone would compell them to prove that they werent.

    - You would have ironclad proof against bogus tickets and insurance charges.

    - The only thing you really give up for the two previous items is the ability to lie about the above two.

    Then again, I dont drive at all, so its all a non issue to me.

    END COMMUNICATION
    • You know what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by StarKruzr (74642) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:40PM (#10876996) Journal
      I NEED the ability to lie about the above two. Why? Because I live in New York City, where speed limits are set arbitrarily low in really stupid places for the express purpose of allowing cops to pick up people for speeding and feed the city coffers.

      If anything, this technology SHOULD allow one to completely eliminate speed limits from the books. Exceeding the speed limit DANGEROUSLY can be called "reckless driving," so why do we have have to have extra laws for it in addition to reckless driving violations? For one reason only: those who make the laws realize that one can drive fast without driving dangerously, but if they let us do that they'd never make any money.

      Driving at 85 mph in the rain on a twisty road in the middle of the night with cars on it? Yes. Your ass should be prosecuted.

      Driving at 80 mph "in a 50" in the middle of the night, with not a cloud in the sky, on a completely empty, straight road? No.
      • Re:You know what? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bladesjester (774793)
        "Driving at 80 mph "in a 50" in the middle of the night, with not a cloud in the sky, on a completely empty, straight road? No."

        I wish I could do that here. Unfortunately the roads here aren't even safe when there are no other cars on them. Deer are a real problem here (to the point that it doesn't really have an effect on your insurance premium. The companies just go "oh, another one" and hand over the cash without really penalizing you.)

        So speaks the guy who has totaled 2 cars (one of which was only
      • So, your theory here is that laws are relative and that this has not been taken into consideration by the people in charge.

        Which makes the laws bogus.

        Which means you should lobby to get the laws fixed.

        Which is an entirely different problem than what's being discussed here.

        • Re:You know what? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by StarKruzr (74642)
          Of course it's been "taken into consideration by the people in charge." That doesn't mean they care. Speed limit laws are never going to get significantly changed or repealed. Those who benefit from them (insurance companies and state and city governments) can always fall back on the ironclad argument (despite any evidence to the contrary) about them protecting people's safety. How can we change or remove speed limits, they will howl, when it will KILL SO MANY BABIES?!?!

          Forget it. Passing laws is ten
          • Liberties? It's a liberty to break the law now, is it?

            • Re:You know what? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by StarKruzr (74642) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @08:54PM (#10877846) Journal
              I love people who think the law makes what's right, rather than what's right making the law.

              I also can't believe how many times I've gotten into precisely that argument on Slashdot.
              • You didn't answer my question - are you suggesting that some liberty to break the law is infringed here?

                Idiot mods. It's the same old "i'm going to use my own personal moral ideals to try and justify my behavior in the larger context of a society" argument. That's not insightful, it's been said by childish dolts like the parent poster a million times before to justify their illegitimate behavior. This stupid "view" of things is especially prevelant in threads where numbskulls use it to try and justify the

          • Everyone speeds and the speed limits are consequently set excessively low.

            Exceeding those limits will never be enforced, and you will never get everyone to simultaneously stop speeding.

            Consequently, we're stuck with the status quo, probably whilst civilised society remains the dominant force on this planet.
      • Heh. Thats why I added the bit about someone having to actually compell you to reveal the info.

        In the books I refered to, the rule was that if no one accuses you of doing something wrong, then no crime was committed. That kind of thing allows the typical marginal speeding that everyone seems to indulge in.

        The fact that you feel entitled to speed when you beleive that it will do no harm is a separate issue, in my opinion.

        END COMMUNICATION
    • The only real test of these systems is what happens when one of your state Senators is in an accident. If all of a sudden his blackbox is reported as "unavailable", then you can figure out what to do with yours yourself. Hints: blowtorch, hammer/chisel, hand drill, etc.
    • You make some very important points.

      One important distinction is that you control access to the data. Someone can not use it against you without your permission!

      This is one of the biggest questions facing our society as we move into the information age:

      Who can we trust to make sure no-one abuses the huge amount of information collected about us?
    • "However, for things like using a car, I dont see it as a problem."

      Well, I do. Sure, let's assume the blackbox records everything perfectly and is only accessed appropriately. It's still not a panacea. It doesn't know WHY you did what you did. Oh, you swerved/sped up/braked hard etc. Those could all be the signs of a bad driver causing an accident or a better driver trying to prevent one and failing. Which is it? It will end up this way: computer said you did something bad, you are at fault, reality/totali
  • by edittard (805475)
    Bearing in mind that I 1) don't drive like a twat 2) hate people who do, I would quite like one.
  • by BitterOak (537666) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:37PM (#10876983)
    I see nothing inherintly bad with this technology itself. In fact, it could prove quite useful at times. But it is vitally important that buyers be informed of these systems, and they must be equipped with an off switch.

    Does anyone know if all existing systems such as On-star can be turned off easily by the driver?

  • You knowingly are purchasing the vehicle as-is. If you are unsure of what they are putting in there, then don't buy it. No violation was performed.

    If government forces these items on us, then we should fight that monopoly force called government. If a private manufacturer wants to push us on it, we can tell them to shove it and not buy their product.
    • Because simply boycotting every single computer manufacturer is an option, when some industry standards group mandates that it be included with each motherboard produced for sale in the US.

      Private manufacturers will listen, too, because in the bizarro universe that you inhabit, the buying power of a few concerned citizens like yourself overshadows the gargantuan purchasing clout of Fortune 500 companies that order 10,000 machines at a time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:38PM (#10876987)
    Sorry to AC, but submitted for your consideration:

    1) Who owns the info? You're in a crash*, can you seize the info form the other guy's car to prove your innocence?
    1a) How? Go to the junkyard and rip out his computer?
    1b) Should we all carry OBD2 down-loading recorders? Scene of the crash, you barge into the other car, plug in and download while the tow-truck is still attaching to drag it away?

    2) If you're in a crash*, how do you protect your rights of posession to the data? (You must agree that at the very least, posession of the car implies posession of any/all devices therein, so any data stored within those devices MAY have vague posession-rules, but holding the black box in your hands at least allows you control of that data...)

    3) How do I safely rig something to destroy or scramble my car's computer? As a last-ditch effort to protect my privacy, shouldn't I have a "Destroy" button somewhere? I'm thinking thermite, but maybe a strong capacitor might be better, both carry risks, but not as much as the data falling in the wrong hands BEFORE my lawyers have a chance to see it...) No news is better than bad news?

    *They're all "crashes" /.ers, there's no such thing as an accident. Someone's always going too fast.
    • While they are all crashes, they are not all caused by someone going to fast. (Your two statements, considered seperately, are both true - but not connected.) Occasionally, the crashes are caused by some asshat deciding to turn left in front of someone doing the speed limit (or less!) without enough time or space to brake to avoid the crash. (And don't even try "if you see someone looking to make a left turn, you should slow down" - what, I should stop and let them in on a two-lane, 50 MPH road? Bah!)
    • 2) If you're in a crash*, how do you protect your rights of posession to the data?

      The other problem with this is actual ownership. As a lot of cars are leased or on payments, who actually 'owns' it? The bank (which may be owned by or owner of your insurance company)? And thereby the data on the black box?
      In the event the car is totaled, the insurance company often keeps it, and pays you (and the bank). Again, do they then 'own' the data on the black box in the car that they now own?

      3) How do I safely rig

    • It would be trivial to solder a tap to the data leads of the CMOS or across any data recording device/chip. I think a 1 farad filter [walmart.com] should do nicely.

      a button from radio shack (or thinkgeek even [thinkgeek.com]) with the above capactior would prove quite fatal to the data.
  • by Leebert (1694) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:39PM (#10876993)
    This article quotes Erick Skrum of the National Motorists Association. It's a great political organization that fights multiple battles of interest to motorists, including black boxes.

    Consider joining the NMA: http://www.motorists.org/ [motorists.org]
  • Insurance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sgs-Cruz (526085) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:47PM (#10877029) Homepage Journal
    What worries me the most is the small savings you get on your insurance for installing a tracker unit that gives the insurance company the right to track you (your speed, time of day, location, etc.). At first it'll be a small savings, then, most people won't care, and everyone will have one, and then it'll basically be a large fine if you don't have one. I guess I'd better continue with my plan of biking everywhere; it's better for me anyway :)
    • A discount to one group or a fine to one group are mathematically identical. The only difference is marketing. For instance, some places used to charge a small fee for using a credit card. They learned they could get better sales, however, if they merely re-labelled it a "cash discount." Mathematically the two are the same thing, and that's probably what's going on here as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:49PM (#10877040)
    All they need to do is add a speech synthesizer and a place to deposit 1/2 your income, and its like marriage in a box (and yes, I do realise this box has nothing to do with sex, which makes the simulation even more accurate).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't have to worry about Orwell's "1984" because I drive a car from 1984!
  • Drivecam (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zorilla (791636) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:50PM (#10877047)
    Oh, well, I suppose anything is better than what happened to this guy. [topspeed.co.il]

    It's a Drivecam video - it records the last 30 seconds or so of driver video and only saves it if an accident occurs. The guy was probably kicking himself for installing it. It probably killed whatever insurance claim he had.
    • Do you have a link to a copy of the video that doesn't require a $15 codec?
      • It uses the Indeo video 5 codec. I didn't have to intervene at all to get this to play. I believe it played out of the box for both Windows XP and Xine for me. If not, resort to the link above this one, of course.
  • From TFA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ryanjensen (741218) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:53PM (#10877063) Homepage Journal
    Or take the driver who races his Miata one weekend and files a warranty claim the next. What are the chances that his data recorder will rat him out to the manufacturer who then voids the warranty?

    So, he knowingly voided his warranty by racing his Miata. He then tries to defraud the manufacturer by filing a false warranty claim (he no longer has a warranty) and HE is the victim? Give me a fucking break.

    For those of use who do not intentionally void our warranty, "black box" recording devices should be seen as a positive: overall, the manufacturer will save on fraudulent warrantee repairs, and warrantee coverage can improve.

    • Re:From TFA (Score:3, Informative)

      by loraksus (171574)
      Haven't seen the purchase agreement for all cars, but generally they don't say that racing will void your warranty.
      And accelerating to the maximum speed, especially on cars with a rpm or speed limiter isn't abuse.

    • Re:From TFA (Score:3, Interesting)

      by technos (73414)
      One of the first things I do in any new car is check out how it accelerates, how it handles me throwing it around a turn too fast, and how controllable it is in a skid. It's a "save my ass" thing. I want to know that I can make the short ramps to I-5 safely when the slow lane is doing 75MPH and packed. I want to know if the rear end throws out easily when all four are locked. I want to know if I'm going to have to surf the broken glass on the shoulder at full speed or if I can brake and change lanes when I
    • If an accident happens, one can use the collected data to show that auto manufacturer is at fault, and this can be a powerful support when filing insurance claim. On the other hand, providing this data should be voluntary. The owner should be able to deny any other party's request of such data, if this cannot be used to his/her advantage. I'm not sure if allowing the device to be turned off is a good idea, as the driver may forget to turn it back on again.
  • How can I hack it? I would love to be able to see what type of data is available in that box.
  • rat yourself out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @06:58PM (#10877085) Homepage Journal
    Amendment V [findlaw.com]:
    [...] nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself [...]

    But we're already compelled to give DNA, urine and tissue sample evidence, so paying for, maintaining and powering devices we own just to spy on us seems inevitable. That crazy old Constitution, with its quaint notions of human rights.
    • But we're already compelled to give DNA, urine and tissue sample evidence...

      According to the definitive source, CSI, you can be "compelled", but not forced (though I suppose the semantics of the word could be open to interpretation--Webster says, "to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly"). Often it's in the interest of the innocent to exclude themselves as a suspect by quickly volunteering specimens. Sort of flies in the face of "innocent until proven guilty", but we're talking about the real world

    • The problem with your argument is that insurance claims are civil claims. You cannot take the 5th in a civil case.
    • Thing is, being a witness and providing evidence aren't the same...

      Think "witch trials", people being forced to confess to things they hadn't done... don't see how this is such an issue with DNA samples and whatnot...

      Tim

    • Re:rat yourself out (Score:3, Informative)

      by deblau (68023)
      Disclaimer: I am a law student, but I haven't had Con Law yet. None of this is legal advice.

      There's a reason you can be compelled to give DNA and other physical samples as evidence against you. See here [findlaw.com] for a more detailed explanation of why. Here's the executive summary:

      You are absolutely correct quoting the Fifth Amendment. The courts are trying to fulfill the policy goal of making sure that witnesses aren't erroneously convicted of a crime. The phrase "witness against himself," obviously means that y

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @07:02PM (#10877109)
    Now that someone may be able to verify if we were all obeying the rules we were supposed to while driving. How come no one complained when the speed limits were put in place? How come no one rejects car rental policies when they read them, opting for the bus instead of their draconian conditions?

    How dare they monitor the speeds we drive, or where we go, in fact how dare they do it now with police and speed cams. This is a total outrage. I am so outraged I cant even be arsed to write the rest of this post because I must devote all my brain power to the massive invasion of my privacy thats happening at every level in Slashworld.
  • If you are online while driving down the highway, you have bigger issues than the car rental agency seeing how fast you were driving.

    I know its been suggested before, but would it be so difficult to change the title of this section?

  • These data recorders keep data for a period of a few seconds, and it is written over again from the beginning.

    So, what is the problem here?

    The only thing I can see is that if you are responsible for an accident, this will prove it.

    Big Brother can't go seeing where you've been to..

  • *If* you crash, this thing will tell the insurance company, police, etc how fast you were going and give them a profile of your driving (hard acceleration/braking, sharp manoeuvres, etc), right?

    So, don't speed, drave safely, and you have nothing to worry about then, right? It *can't* track you and report on where you are/where you're going, it can only record how you've been driving. If that really is a problem, then you shouldn't be driving like that anyway.
  • by g0hare (565322) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @07:27PM (#10877226)
    As long as you never ever do anything wrong, and never make a mistake, you'll be fine. If you're not guilty why do you care if everyone is watching you?
  • Just rip them out (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ajmuller (88594)
    Why not just rip the black boxes out? has anyone ever tried this, I would go out in my garage right now and rip the damn thing out but I only have old cars that almost certianly don't have boxes.
    Would removing the black box cause the car to stop functioning? I mean, we could just replace the box moments before returning it to the service facility. In fact, don't even remove the box, just pull the cables assuming they are not hard-wired. if they are snip a wire or two and make it look like it was damaged.
  • My VW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Magickcat (768797) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @07:32PM (#10877252)
    I have a 2003 Volkswagen Golf, and have read that the data recording box in it records the number of time the ABS is engaged, fuel emisions, average speed and trip distance, number of times the seat belt isn't worn by the driver - pretty much everything.

    What I hate about it is that the car demands it's service with a flashing light and tone, only a Volkswagen mechanic can turn the alert off. The dataport is hidden behind a removal panel below the radio, and there's no way in hell that my independant mechanic can get the thing to stop beeping at me because I didn't volunteer to be overcharged by a VW mechanic.

    Personally, I think that all the information on black boxes should be accessible to the driver, and additionally, that there should be a standard interface port and protocol so that all mechanics can access the black box. I also think that the exact information being collated should be revealed before you purchase the car.

    I'm happy if police can access the information in the case of a serious crash, but I don't want the information being provided to manufacturers without knowing exactly what my car is telling them. I don't have anything to hide about my driving habits etc and I am a safe driver and don't speed, but I resent not being able to choose my own independant mechanic without a great deal of inconvinience, and I don't like not knowing exactly what my car is recording.
  • by Ender_Stonebender (60900) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @07:47PM (#10877398) Homepage Journal
    The fact of the matter is that these are only good for people attacking you. If they added a camera that looked out the front window of the vehicle, and recorded the last 30 seconds of data from that as well, it would be good. Then, not only could the know what was done, but might have some clue as to why it was done. Knowing what happened without knowing why it happened...it's pretty much useless for things like this.

    --Ender
    • The fact of the matter is that these are only good for people attacking you. If they added a camera that looked out the front window of the vehicle, and recorded the last 30 seconds of data from that as well, it would be good. Then, not only could the know what was done, but might have some clue as to why it was done. Knowing what happened without knowing why it happened...it's pretty much useless for things like this.

      The Eaton VORAD anti-collision radar [roadranger.com] does just that. It tracks up to 20 targets in fr

  • by Mulletproof (513805) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @07:59PM (#10877494) Homepage Journal
    "You can't shut it off, and you can't manipulate it..."

    ...But you can pull the plug. I've found that what appears to be that suspicious black box under the dash of my '02 Elantra. Disconnecting it does not affect the car alarm, radio, ignition, or any other vital feature nessisary to the car's operation.

    Honestly, I don't mind the fact that they exist... As long as they are only used in the event of a crash and only at your option. I say that above all else because that box is your property, crash or no crash. The information therein is yours to release or not to release and should be covered as the 5th amendment would be used to protect your innocence. This device cannot run a-ground on the same DRM issues that affect consoles, software and music-- You know, the products you bought but don't actually own? That information is yours, recorded on a device you bought inside the car you own.

    Now granted, it may very well be the only thing that proves your innocence. That said, story does have the right idea, however. These things are way too prone to abuse to be used without the proper safeguards in place.

    • Pulling the plug IS shutting it off. Most of the "black boxes" are actually integrated into the ECU/PCM which is a $300-1000 part that your car will not run without. The information can be subpoena'd whether you're in a crash or not, like any other information you might have.`
      • Well THANK YOU for that brief, redundant insight into common law. I'll make sure to inquire of you next time I need a brief synopsis into all things that are common knowledge. How things should be often bares little resemblance to how that actually are, but thankyouverymuch.

        As for my black box, if it's not, I have no idea what it is then as it possess no vital function that I can ascertain.
        • There's always the possibility that it was a dealer-installed alarm system that was deactivated since you didn't ask for it, but if it looks original, it probably is the black box, or you would have noticed that something had stopped working.
    • As long as they are only used in the event of a crash and only at your option. I say that above all else because that box is your property, crash or no crash.

      Fortunately, you are not the King of the World. Discovery compels a party to bring forward specific evidence relevant to a trial. Its not difficult to obtain a subpoena or a warrant for this device. Without this, Microsoft would be untouchable in its business practices. Without the memos and like to demonstrate a willingness to destroy competition in

  • "You can't shut it off, and you can't manipulate it,"

    Sounds like a challange to me!

    "...the driver who races his Miata one weekend and files a warranty claim the next. What are the chances that his data recorder will rat him out"

    The automakers will have to drastically change their advertising. You can't sell a 'aports car' based on performance driving and later argue that using the vehicle as advertised violates it's warranty! Hell, Chrysler is HAPPY if you race their Neon! They will even sell you parts
  • Brilliant (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @08:37PM (#10877758) Homepage
    Board spokesman Keith Holloway said public concerns about personal privacy shouldn't get in the way of providing a valuable tool for accident investigators.

    Yeah, don't let public concerns stop you from doing whatever the hell you want. It doesn't stop anyone else.

  • by Thunderstruck (210399) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @08:38PM (#10877763)
    Actually, a lot of these posts raise an interesting question. If technology is going to be able to tell everything about you, for good or ill, what exactly is your right not to testify against yourself worth?

  • by multiplexo (27356) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @08:43PM (#10877786) Journal
    I really love this part of the article:

    The National Transportation Safety Board called for requiring standardized recorders in all light-duty vehicles after it was unable to ascertain what happened when an elderly driver plowed through a farmer's market in Santa Monica, Calif., last year, killing and injuring scores of people.

    OK, let me be the first to call it since the NTSB is a bunch of politically correct pussies who don't want to piss off the fucking geezers in the AARP. The guy who caused this accident was too fucking old to drive, OK! He was 86 years old, according to this article [cbs2.com] he had "... a medical condition called a "second-degree heart block" that can cause the heart to stop beating for several seconds.", raising the question of why we are letting someone who has a bad heart that can stop beating during times of stress drive a motor vehicle. This guy's reflexes were gone, he couldn't adequately control the pedals because he had had hip replacement surgeries he might have had cognitive deficits as well as severe visual ones. He was just too fucking old to operate a motor vehicle, and guess what! There's millions more like him out there. Old folks are incredibly dangerous behind the wheel. We don't need black boxes in every car, we need annual vision, reaction and cognition testing for all drivers over 70 years old, and those who don't pass lose their licenses right then and there. While we're at it we can strip the licenses of anyone who has more than one DUI or who causes an accident where someone loses life or limb, this would go a long way towards making our roads a lot safer.

    Does this suck if you're one of the old people in question? Well yes it does, but I find it interesting that the people who whine about restricting the driving privileges of the elderly have no problem with restricting the driving privileges of teenagers. Admittedly teenagers are bad drivers, but they're going to get better as they age, someone who's 16 years old will probably be a better and safer driver in 10 years when they're 26, the same cannot be said for a 70 year old. And while it might suck for elderly drivers to lose their licenses it kind of sucks for the rest of us when they lose control of a vehicle and kill 10 people and send 63 more to the hospital or in my case fail to yield right of way on a sunny day, plow into my motorcycle and cost me my left leg below the knee.

    • "OK, let me be the first to call it since the NTSB is a bunch of politically correct pussies who don't want to piss off the fucking geezers in the AARP."

      Well, to be fair to the NTSB, their job isn't to give the LIKELY cause of the accident. It is to find the cause or say they can't. They aren't supposed to make assumptions. Being "too old to drive" isn't the root cause of the accident. Sure, it likely contributed....but that's not the same thing. Losing control isn't the cause. Maybe his heart stopped caus
    • Public policy is made according to money, not common sense. As long as you resist this truth, you will find yourself at odds with the universe. Old people vote and old people have AARP and other organizations. Old people having accidents produces an economy for medical services, lawyers, and auto mechanics to name just a few. Public policy is made according to money, not common sense.
    • "He was just too fucking old to operate a motor vehicle, and guess what! There's millions more like him out there. Old folks are incredibly dangerous behind the wheel. We don't need black boxes in every car, we need annual vision, reaction and cognition testing for all drivers over 70 years old, and those who don't pass lose their licenses right then and there. While we're at it we can strip the licenses of anyone who has more than one DUI or who causes an accident where someone loses life or limb, this wou
  • When you drive your gas guzzling SUV all by yourself, I assure that you are not alone. Usama bin Laden himself will be sitting in your passenger seat.
  • by twitter (104583) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @08:46PM (#10877808) Homepage Journal
    Oregon is working on a toll-road system that downloads global positioning satellite data and odometer readings at the gasoline pump to collect fuel taxes on each gallon based on the amount a motorist drives.

    Brilliant. Instead of estimating an average car mileage and using that as a gauge of road use per gallon and adding a fixed price to each gallon of gasoline, Oregon is going to show us how smart they can be! They will get to pay for the development, deployment and upkeep of totally unnecessary and invasive computer system. Imagine people's glee at getting to pay more for my gasoline because they buy an economy car that gets more miles to the gallon.

  • by Sevn (12012)
    You are operating a whole lot of metal balanced on each end by friction enhanced cylinders with a rotating mass of pressurized air. Your technology to change vectors is based on driving two of the corners from an onboard engine while turning the other two (or the same) corners in relation to the central mass in order to effect velocity, or change direction respectively. You also effect velocity by applying force to the corners to slow their rotation. You do all this while:

    1) Approaching closing speeds that

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