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Will Backlash Block Technologies Meant to Increase Road Safety?

Self-driving cars may still be several years away, but federal officials are already looking to restrict the ability of drivers to operate their cars to improve road safety. They're pushing for the adoption of new technologies to reduce human error.
December 3, 2013, 2pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Auto safety regulators are pushing for new equipment to protect motorists from their biggest threat: themselves," writes Jerry Hirsch. "They're aiming to keep drunk drivers off the road with the help of onboard technology that immobilizes their cars. New vehicles may soon come with systems to help prevent collisions. And engines may not start unless occupants buckle their seat belts."

But a similar initiative - a seat-belt monitoring system mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the mid 1970s - was rolled back in response to public backlash. And Jeremy Anwyl, an automotive industry consultant and former chief executive of, "suspects renewed efforts by government to keep tabs on driving behavior will elicit a similar outcry."

"People won't like the idea that all of a sudden they are no longer completely in control," he said. "They might not buy a new vehicle and instead just keep the car they have."

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Published on Friday, November 29, 2013 in Los Angeles Times
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