- Regulations & Driving Rules
Freedom Dies with GPS Speed Governor
ISA the Nanny is Ready to Control You
A new system is being tested in Australia and the UK to limit the death and injury caused by speeding. It is tied into a GPS that is directly linked to the computers that regulates a car engine's functions. It's called Intelligent Speed Adaptation or ISA for short. The idea is to circumvent human input to the throttle to slow the vehicle down when it enters a new speed limit zone or when the driver is speeding. There is a warning and a delay before it takes control, but it still counteracts driver control. There is a way to deactivate the GPS driven ISA speed control, but this won't last. The creators of this monster recognize there are sometimes situations when it is prudent to exceed the speed limit in order to pass other vehicles or even accelerate to avoid an accident. But it also acts as a parent and proposes to limit the times which the ISA system will allow the driver to accelerate to a speed faster than the local law permits within several periods of a specific time frame. There is a maximum for each time scale, meaning that if you are a speed demon who wants to pass multiple vehicles in order to "get ahead", then you will find yourself unable to do so after the sixteenth time you pass another slower vehicle in a given twenty four hour period. You will find yourself unable to accelerate past the speed limit again until the next day or the next one hundred miles.
This is a reasonable limit as considered by the builders of this technology since it is safe to assume that someone who feels the need to pass that many people is probably an unsafe driver. However, now that driver lacks the ability to make that call on their own. And this is the inherent problem with this automated nanny system. It trades our freedom with the excuse of making us safer.
The real question is not, "why aren't the speeds of vehicles being limited?", but, "why should they be?" Yes, there should be law that puts limits on behavior to ensure the safety of others, but we should be given the respect to choose to follow them or not. By posing the question: "why aren't speeds being regulated?" as a reason to take away our freedom to choose, is basically saying that we need a big government to control us and tell us what to do. Naturally, as society becomes more advanced and more complex, it does make sense to institute ways of taming our propensity for breaking the law. But why not spend money on educating and teaching instead of taking away control and freedom? I argued in an article on Helium that having a fast bike means you have the freedom to not only brake but accelerate out of a sticky situation on the road. When we start building artificial walls for people, the human race is going to find itself under a dictatorship of rule that it will someday rebel against.
We ought to defend our right to own a fast bike, not curtail other's rights to own one. If an idiot wants to ride a fast bike and kill themselves, that is up to them. I don't want them to do it, but it would be wrong for me to make them comply by force before the act has even happened. It's the same for the helmet law here in the US. It's completely unconstitutional because when you crash and split your head wide open, no one else is involved in that particular event. Yes, the family of the rider is affected of course. And one of the reasons for the helmet law is that someone else ends up paying for the hospital care for the idiot rider. However, this is not true across the board, and it is also wrong to assume that we can control someone's personal freedoms because it might end up costing us money. How about we educate these reckless idiots? Require them to go to informative classes that last for weeks when they buy a death rocket? Show them the carnage, have them meet paraplegics, and then they will know why it is wrong to drive or ride like a banshee.
No, instead the solution is to merely take away control and freedom from the individual. It's cheaper, and money can be made from it by the wrong people - politicians and / or the state. By creating a system of education as mentioned above, we can actually create a new market for teachers and credentials. We could send part of that money to help those that have suffered serious injuries as a result of riding recklessly, to research to find ways of curing them. Perhaps even enough money to donate to other noble health causes. This would be an American solution. By instituting more regulation that places restrictions on individual rights of the consumer, companies responsible for manufacturing electronic governors and automated speed controls, will make backdoor deals with the politicians who promote the new regulation. If we go the other way, these schools will be new and not nearly as likely to make enough money to interest the greed of the politicians, we will preserve freedom and actually teach people the reasons we cannot ride like idiots.
There will be a day when we are required to wear implants that don't allow us to do anything that can be considered dangerous according to the government, and actually inhibit us from physically taking such actions. I can't wait for them to tell hanglider pilots, paraglider pilots and ultralight pilots that they can no longer do what they love because someone else decided that they are engaging in unsafe activities that could result in death or injury. Then again, there is no profit to be made from stopping people from flying this way, and if there was, public opinion would probably not even come into play since the general public is not affected by such regulation.
As it stands now, when the nanny speed controller becomes mandatory, the public will accept it because they are being fed the lie that they are only gaining a safer driving environment. No one will tell them they are trading their freedom for it. No one will propose a better way to control reckless driving: propaganda. Media information dissemination has proven to be very effective in reducing smoking and encouraging people to vote for Barrack Obama. There is absolutely no reason this wouldn't work to reel in would be reckless drivers and riders.
The nanny speed controller will save lives, there is no doubt. But if such extreme measures seem necessary, why haven't other more passive freedom preserving ways been presented before this technology came into existence? Think about it. The problem with nuts on the road and road rage has been around for more than ten years. And now we are turning to a ball and chain to deal with it? Something doesn't smell right, and it's not the hot, sweaty, DOT approved helmet I am forced to wear because I am too stupid to make that decision on my own.