Anyone who has glanced at this blog over the years will know that I’m no lover of our traffic police. That we the citizens of this great country have given a group of folks (whose salary we pay) the right to essentially lay in wait for law abiding citizens even more power over us is incredible to me. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking to control the apps on our phones where those apps aid navigation. That might well prevent Google Maps or Waze from working on our phones as we drive. The justification (as always) is ‘safety.’ Our government is perfectly happy that any depressed or deranged high schooler can get hold of an assault weapon to take out his peers…that’s perfectly safe…but heaven forbid we run Google Maps through our blue toothed cars. This ridiculous provision is part of the proposed transportation bill working its way through congress. Giving the government oversight on which aps are or aren’t ‘safe’ to use in our cars is insanity…how would they decide which was safe and which wasn’t. Where would they find the software engineers to do a comprehensive job. If I have Google Maps on my phone and I run it whilst I’m driving a car ‘illegally’ what would be my status if I use it while I’m the passenger or even riding a train? As far as the app is concerned it all looks the same… the only way to reliably regulate it would be to ban it entirely. Let’s criminalize every smartphone user.
Not surprisingly the automakers are pushing for this regulation. If they could persuade the government to essentially outlaw GPS navigation by phone that (I’m sure they think) will force more car buyers to pay the premium to get GPS in their new cars. My Google maps app is a much better GPS device than either of the BMW or Nissan navigation systems in my household. I was recently sent about five miles out of the way when attempting to reach a location in downtown San Diego. If there’s and doubt I trust the Google app over the car every time.
What has clearly stuck in our overlords craw is a recent California case where someone navigating on their iPhone was ticketed for ‘phone use’ by one of CHIPs finest. He fought the ticket that conviction was overturned. God forbid that any traffic conviction be overthrown based on fairness. We have so many real problems to address why on earth would we waste tax dollars attempting to resolve a problem which doesn’t exist. How about we tackle mental health, obesity, gun control or even patent reform first.