I've been going to a road trip with my family over a weekend and, of course, I forgot to bring audio cable. That small piece of wire was all that was keeping me apart from having my phone output beautiful music for my kids on a car stereo. No biggie I though, car has a bluetooth, it will be a cakewalk to connect the phone.

It wasn't.

You see, Ford in its eternal wisdom decided to forbid setting such things while car was moving. And the message clearly said: it was for my safety. I found that strange because I was sitting on a passenger seat, pretty sure that I wasn't one holding the steering wheel. If car is moving, nobody should be allowed to do anything it seems.

And this "security features" seem to be just part of a bigger trend. Let's just take National Highway Transportation Safety Agency recommendations for GPS functionality. For example, they suggest (V.5.b) that dynamic maps are not the best choice when it comes to visualization of travel data. Their recommendation is to have GPS update every few seconds. Yes, people looking every few seconds for updated map wondering whether what they see is a current information or they have already screwed the turn will definitely make for safer driving.

We should also not forget Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood saying that your mobile phone should be disabled while in a car. I understand that mobile phone is a distraction but thing is that there is no way to reliably detect who is driving. And why shouldn't passenger use driver's mobile phone to, God forbid, look up maps or even worse, speak to his Mom who called him at wrong moment?

I am quite annoyed by all this babysitting and forbidding various distracting things for no measurable effect. It restricts quite useful scenarios when you do have two persons in the car and it does not offer any real safety benefit when you don't. Face it, idiots will stay idiots and no amount of "features" will make them a good driver. They will just think of something else to entertain them while hurling on a highway toward eventual doom.

3 thoughts to “Babysitting”

  1. Ehm :) Come back to Europe, i promise if you find car messed up like that one.. I’ll pull electronics from it myself. With bare hands.

  2. I had similar problem with Ford, but usually traffic light was red enough to setup everything I needed. :)

    P.S. Don’t you have Disney Radio on satellite for kids?

  3. Once you leave Redmond, there are miles and miles without any lights. Outside of rare traffic jam, over weekend there is actually only one or two lights that provide more than few seconds delay…

    P.S.: We have Disney Radio but you would probably read about me in newspapers if we kept it turned on for too long… :)

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