Print 101 comment(s) - last by Perry Tanko.. on Sep 16 at 6:21 PM

  (Source: Wallpaper Den)
Bye bye autobahn

Europe has been known as the birthplace of some of the world's fastest cars with luxury-minded speed-demons from Italian brands like Volkswagen AG's (ETR:VOW) Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., German brands like Daimler AG's (ETR:DAI) Mercedes-Benz, or the UK's Bentley Motor Group Ltd. (also a Volkswagen property).  Indeed, perhaps no highway system is as famous as Germany's autobahns, where there is no enforced speed limit.

But all of that could soon be changing.

The European Union's Mobility and Transport Department -- a branch of the EU's market regulatory body, the European Commission (EC) -- is preparing an extreme proposal to counter auto fatalities in the region.  UK newspaper Telegraphcites the office of Patrick McLoughlin, the UK's Transport Secretary as warning of the controversial proposal.

EU speeding
The EU is looking to pull the plug on drivers travelling over 70 mph. [Image Source: Porsche]

Reportedly the EC approached Mr. McLoughlin with a pending proposal that sought to use an Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) scheme to prevent any new vehicles sold in the EU from going over 70 miles per hour.  The EC officials argued that the proposal was necessary to curb the over 30,000 drivers who die each year on Europe's streets.

But Mr. McLoughlin blasted the proposal; with a "government source" close his office commenting:

This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people's backs up about Brussels.  The Commission wanted [Mr. McLoughin's] views ahead of plans to publish the proposals this autumn. He made it very clear what those views were.

An EC spokesperson confirmed that talks about new speed regulation are pending, remarking:

There is a currently consultation focusing on speed-limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses.  Taking account of the results, the Commission will publish in the autumn a document by its technical experts which will no doubt refer to ISA among many other things

Aside from the more basic free market and cost issues, another problem with the proposal arguably is the fact the EU member states vary greatly in traffic fatalities.  Out of Britain's thirty eight million motorists, there are only 1,754 fatalities in 2012 -- a 0.0046 percent death rate.  By contrast Germany's forty-five million motorists in 2012 got in 3,657 fatalities -- a 0.0081 percent death rate (almost twice as high).

This controversy may be laid to rest -- or further ignited -- when self-driving (autonomous or semi-autonomous) cars hit the market.  Google, Inc. (GOOG), General Motors Comp. (GM), and Nissan Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7201) are among the companies working to bring self-driving car technology to the market.

Source: Telegraph

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RE: More accidents to come
By The Von Matrices on 9/6/2013 2:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
I hope you can at least agree with me that driving in congested traffic is not enjoyable. The problem is that most of us live in cities and have to deal with traffic on a daily basis, and because of this there is very rarely an enjoyable city drive. Automated vehicles will drastically increase road capacity. So this leads to two choices - either drive manually in traffic and try to enjoy it, or let the car drive for you and get to your destination faster with little or no traffic. [I]There is no third option to drive manually with no traffic[/I]. I don't think there are many people who would choose the traffic over the automated car.

I'm not asking to make manual control of a vehicle illegal; I'm asking to make manual control of a vehicle on [I]public roads[/I] illegal. I still support private tracks and even designated public areas for this (driving parks?), but only in locations where they don't interfere with others' ability to get where they want to go. The reality is that the primary purpose of roads are not for enjoyment; they are for transportation and economic benefit. The laws need to advocate for the benefits of the many over the desires of a few - the benefits of the many in this case being the ability to get to a destination faster and the desires of a few being the desire to drive a car. You could even compare this to other legislation that has passed such as laws banning smoking in public spaces - a practice that puts the health benefits of the many over the wants of the few who desire to smoke. And similarly to this legislation, the desired activity will be still be allowed in other places; in this case it would even be better because anti smoking laws still apply to public spaces on private property (e.g. restaurants) whereas automated car laws wouldn't apply to private property.

Whether you like it or not, automated cars are the future. This is how it will work: The increased safety of automated vehicles will change the prices of automotive insurance policies. Manually controlling a car will become an expensive insurance option (just like a sports car is today), and because of that most people will opt for the cheaper to insure automated car. This savings will be drastic enough that existing manually controlled automobiles will be either retired sooner to replace with automated cars or retrofitted. Governments will realize that they can achieve the same effect of increasing road capacity through legislation banning manual driving rather than spending inordinate amounts of money to widen roads. After enough of the fleet has converted to automated driving through the insurance incentives, then alienating the few remaining holdouts through this legislation will be an acceptable political consequence and the law will pass. At that point manual driving will be all but extinct.

RE: More accidents to come
By Schrag4 on 9/6/2013 4:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
The laws need to advocate for the benefits of the many over the desires of a few

This is where we fundamentally disagree. The constitution, where I live, was initially meant to prevent the passage of laws that benefit the many at the expense of the few. For a long time we stood for individual liberty, but that's going away, sadly.

You could even compare this to other legislation that has passed such as laws banning smoking in public spaces - a practice that puts the health benefits of the many over the wants of the few who desire to smoke.

This is a perfect example. Yes, smoking, and to a lesser degree, second hand smoke are harmful to one's health, but I disagree that we need laws banning smoking except for designated areas. If some store or restaurant wants to allow smoking, why should I care? I don't have to shop there, and I don't have to work there. I can get on board with a smoking ban in places where people do not go willfully, such as schools, hospitals, government buildings, but banning smoking in some place like a biker's bar? That's idiotic. DISCLAIMER: I don't smoke. Do I enjoy the clean air? Of course. And if there are enough people like me, who enjoy clean air, then we'll frequent the establishments that don't allow smoking.

What's that you say? Your small town doesn't have a grocery store that doesn't ban smoking? That right there is what is called an opportunity, a void that a free market will eventually fill, and it doesn't require government regulation to tell people what they can and can't do.

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