Auto safety grows increasingly absurd. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:
The late great comedian Sam Kineson had a routine describing the peace of death. At last, no more worries. He’s lying on the slab . . . when all of a sudden he feels the embalmer climbing on top of him.
It never ends! Sam would scream in his inimitable way.
The same goes for government busybodyism. It never ends. These people never fail to find a new way to pester us – and cost us. The latest way being a “call” – from them to be imposed on us – that all new cars to be equipped with seat belt buzzers for the backseats.
They really mean something else.
The backseats are – were – the last redoubt of freedom from proctoring in a modern car. The only place where you could sit down without being harassed by the car. And where the driver (and passengers) could put things without being pestered by the car.
Or a laptop.
Or a hoagie, for that matter.
Hypersensitive weight sensors are built into the seats – these sensors being necessary because of another busybody mandate (the air bag mandate) which resulted in people being killed by too-forceful air bag deployments. Whoops. The sensors are supposed to feed data about the weight of the person occupying the seat – and that data is used to adjust the force of air bag deployment in a crash .
But the sensors are special – in the short-bus sense. They register the weight of practically anything as a person – your laptop, bookbag or foot-long hoagie, even.
And if the seatbelt isn’t buckled, the buzzer erupts. These buzzers are piercing and relentless; they are more like claxons and most don’t turn themselves off after a moment – or even minutes. They stay on until you “buckle up.”
This includes buckling up your laptop that’s riding shotgun.
Almost any pressure on the sensors will trigger the buzzers. This is not anecdotal – it is experiential. Your Libertarian Car Guy test drives brand-new cars every week and I can personally vouch for the fact that backpacks, laptops – and hoagies – trigger the buzzers.
The buzzers are styled “reminders” – but after say a minute of ear-splitting racket, it’s probably a safe assumption that the driver is aware of the situation. But the seat belt harasser won’t quit – causing an unsafe distraction until the driver can’t stand it anymore, gives up and reaches over to buckles up his laptop or whatever else is riding shotgun.
Not very . . . saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafeif the car is moving.
If NHTSA – the federal busybody agency that somehow became the proctor of Our Safety – gets its way, drivers will soon have to reach behind them to try to grab and buckle-up their stuff – in order to get the got-damned buzzers to shut the fuck up.
NHTSA says it is “calling” for rear-seat buzzers, because “only three quarters of rearseat passengers buckle up.”
Perhaps because they don’t want to?
It cannot be abided.
So in addition to people in the back seat being proctored – and pestered – the driver will also have to remember to buckle up the groceries, gym bags or whatever else gets tossed onto the rear seats. Where, of course, the driver can’t reach the got-damned seat belt to buckle them up, if he forgot to – in order to get the got-damned buzzer to shut up.
One more aggravation – and expense – we didn’t “call” for.
Whether the sensors add $100 or $1 to the price of the car isn’t the point.
Maybe rearseat buzzers are something people want. Why not find out? By – crazy idea – letting people decide for themselves whether they want them – and are willing to pay for them?
The real reason these things have to “called” for – that is, mandated by the busybodies – is precisely because most people don’t want them. If that weren’t the case, the mandate wouldn’t be necessary.
See also: Air bags – and electric cars.
The busybodies like mandates because they give them power. And the car industry – for the most part – likes the mandates because it gives them money. A mandated “safety” feature is no different than mandated leather seats or AC. They all cost extra – but you used to be able to skip things you didn’t want to pay extra for.
Now we all pay more – for less freedom.
That’s a pretty crappy offer – and it’s one we’re not allowed to refuse.