My love for NPR's "Car Talk" remains one of my quirks, along with a fondness for Cuban conga cds and orange tic tacs. Just some of the things that I like without examination. Who knows why?
Now TMPO can relate to this: I also like to drive other people's nice cars. I know, I know. I'm not a materialist and car appreciation is a guy thing, right? (joke)It goes against who I am. Really. But even hippie chicks have some weaknesses.
Once I drove my mom's beamer with Maria Callas, along a fifteen mile stretch of double ocean views on a Long Island inlet, and had to admit: I had love for a damned machine. It was smooth, it was beautiful, the sound was amazing. It's a car that I would never buy,and quite frankly my desire for it was astonishing, but humans are full of contradictions. At least I am. Sadly.
What does this have to do with politics? Or NPR?
Well it is common knowledge that BMW and other cars have technology that communicate via satellite about the status of the car. This is a value added feature, like so many other devices on these vehicles.Some people are familiar with OnStar and other such features that enable cars to interact remotely. Anyway, a caller to "Car Talk" asked about a device installed on her car as part of an insurance company research program. The insurance company had asked her to participate, and she wanted to know what types of information could be recorded from the various components of the typical dash. Interesting.
The answer? Everything. Speed, seat belt use, nature of starts and stops, acceleration. At this time, the tattling car would reveal patterns for research purposes only. But how long before Auto Insurance companies get such tracking devices turned into standard equipment? To track your behavior and adjust the rates accordingly? To see how safely and responsibly YOU interact with the item they insure. Yes, your car would be able to potentially tell them how badly you treat it. And if you obey the law. It would be able to tell your insurance company what you do even when you are not caught doing it.
Now one brother at "Car Talk" said it might not be so bad. There are crazy people.
It forces me to ask: Would such a device function as a deterrent for the crazy driver? Again it comes down to the question of balancing rights with societal good. What if tracking driving habits led to a ten percent reduction of fatalities per year? If it forced parents to buckle up babies or risk a rate hike? Would it hurt some populations more than others, say, families that share cars? Would you feel violated, watched, spied on, tracked like a kid? Would you buy a car with this if your rate were to be cut by 50%?? Would you buy into this idea?
What happens between a car and a woman is nobody's business, I am inclined to say.