Cars: I Remember when We had control of cars; today we obey software programs.

Recently I came across a November 2015 issue of Road & Track. It contains an article comparing the 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350, a muscle car of its time, with the 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350R, a muscle car of its time.

The 51 years difference allowed the 2016 version to reach 60 miles an hour from a standing start 3.1 seconds quicker and allowed a 51 mph higher top speed.

The 2016 version cost 14 times more and weighs 860 pounds more. In addition to inflation I suspect the additional weight accounts for a good share of the additional cost and that the weight is accounted for by safety regulations written by bureaucrats.

These “safety” regulations have more impact on us than cost, weight, and inconvenience. The “safety” regulations have stolen visibility. Think about it for a moment. How does reducing visibility while making cars faster make us safer? Cars used to have tremendous visibility, not only forward but rearward and on the sides. You could check your rear by looking over your left shoulder. You could check your right side with a glance to the right. This wonderful visibility was wiped out in the name of “safety.”

First high-backed seats were mandated so you could no longer look over your left shoulder or your right. Next the side pillars were made massive so that you cannot even see anything on either side, and the front windscreen pillars were made massive so that if you turn left downhill you cannot see if there is anything in the road, such as a child, animal, or pothole. You cannot even see if a road is there.

As you can no longer see to the rear and to the sides the manufacturers use cameras. But unless you are young and learned to drive with cameras, you forget to use them. You are trying to look with your own eyes, and the “safety” bureaucrats have made it impossible. Use our artificial eyes they demand.

There was a time when only sport cars had seat belts. They were lap belts. Next sport cars moved to shoulder belts. This was prior to safety regulation. Sports cars had them because some drivers tended to drive the cars in a sporting manner.

“Safety” bureaucrats next mandated seat belts. Laws were passed to ticket you if you were caught driving without your belts. This was another new infraction that brought revenue to the state.

Next came airbags. At first they were deployed in front of the driver and front passenger. Today the airbags are also in the side doors and above your head. Consequently, what was once an inconsequential fender bender easily repaired at minor cost is now a total loss. The cost of fixing the car might be small, but the cost of replacing the multiple air bags is huge.

Consequently, car insurance costs have skyrocketed. It cost more to insure a car today than it did to insure a house when I was a young man.

When I was a Wall Street Journal editor I came across a study by an economist who investigated the impact of car safety regulations. He found that the safety features made drivers feel more secure, so they drove in more aggressive and risky ways. I wrote an editorial about it.

Isn’t this what we have all observed? People who drive the massive “pickup” trucks and SUVs sit far above the sedan world and drive as if they are invulnerable.

What I have noticed about my 2018 model year “safety” car is that the door lock system is designed to protect against car-jacking and is a massive frustration to the owner who uses the car. Whenever I get out of the car, no other doors unlock. I have to get back into the car and push a button that unlocks the doors so that I can get the groceries out and into the house.

I remember cars that when the driver exited, all doors unlocked. Of course then, we were a homogeneous nation and there was no such thing as car-jacking or robbery in shopping malls and grocery store parking lots.

The personal protection safety features are a response to the tower of babel in which we now live. We see these safety features everywhere. Locked gates, some manned by personnel 24/7, protecting residential areas. Metal detectors in high schools, universities, airports, municipal buildings, congressional office buildings. Directors of corporations cannot get to board meetings without confirmed identification prior to entering elevators. Our multicultural society has resulted in all of us being constantly suspected and in need of clearance at every turn.

When I went to high school there were no metal detectors.

When I was on congressional staffs there were no metal detectors, no police demanding to know my right to enter.

When I attended board meetings, I did not have to prove who I was and my right to be there.

Cyber security is so non-existent that now we need second and even third authentications in order to access our own accounts. This is the contribution that the digital revolution has made to our insecurity.

Once there was pleasure in cars beyond the visibility they offered. Cars gave us mobility. I distinctly remember the pleasure in mobility.

Teenagers in their home garage could create hot rods out of, if memory serves, 1932 and 1934 Fords and Chevrolets. Not only were they a visual picture, they were fast and made wonderful sounds.

1940 Fords were the next step in altered machinery. A hopped up one couldn’t be caught by police cars.

Hot Roders running moonshine became the original NASCAR race drivers.

In high school my best friend had a 1950 Ford flathead V-8 souped to the max. The car would reach 60 mph in 10 seconds when ordinary cars required 30 or 40 seconds. I still remember the sound. It was like a good piece of classical music. It was easy to work on. You could take out the transmission and rebuild it in your driveway.

The car had a police radio, so we always knew where the police were and were careful not to commit any infractions in their vicinity.

With the return of the Chevrolet V-8 in 1955, the flathead era ended. In performance, General Motors took the lead, only to be surpassed by Mopar, Chrysler’s products: Challengers, Daytonas, Superbirds, Dusters, Barracudas, Road Runners. These are all cars that with some tweaking can hold their own with fast cars today. And they had wonderful visibility. The drivers were not reduced to being servants of technology in order to see where they were going.

Today the cost of a car is determined by a regulatory bureaucracy that will force us to spend a billion dollars to save one life. Yet the health care bureaucracy forced most of us to take a “vaccine” that killed us or destroyed our health. Clearly, there is a lack of balance.

Safety should be applied to food, water, and borders. Where it is needed it is absent. Instead, safety is used to eliminate our independence and to drive up the cost of mobility. Our leaders profess to be worried about global warming while they rush into warming things up with World War III.

Cars: I Remember when We had control of cars; today we obey software programs.

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