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July 05, 2010

Hybrids + texting pedestrians = Perfect storm for highway carnage

Quiet hybrids are apparently a problem at intersections, particularly for the blind which is perfectly understandable, but they're also a big risk to "unsuspecting pedestrians" (i.e. clueless oblivions who have less situational awareness than a potted palm)

...Advocates for the blind have sought the addition of artificial noises in hybrids for several years, concerned that the expected sales growth of hybrids could lead to more pedestrian fatalities and injuries...
Now that its been established that silent hybrids are a real safety threat, where might we get a ready supply of "unsuspecting pedestrians" for them to mow down?

Gadget twiddlers/fiddlers. The ones so engrossed in texting or whatever cell phone call they're making that they do stupid shit like lurch right in front of hapless drivers of those killer hybrids.

...pedestrians are also suffering the consequences of mobile distraction tripping on curbs, walking into traffic, even stepping into manholes as they chat or type while walking...

..."I don't think we're going to eliminate people from walking into things outright and of course we want people to be responsible, but what we're trying to do is eliminate the friction point ... and give the user back a little mental bandwith," said Travis Bogard, the executive director for product management and strategy at San Francisco-based Aliph, which makes bluetooth earpieces...

The plight of the blind is a genuinely tragic case of unintended technological consequences, and the slow response of the hybrid makers to it is shameful. Apparently, its literally going to take an act of congress to compel them to address this issue when its one they should have been all over themselves when it was brought to light.

However, the plight of the poor gadgeting oblivions who are walking in front of cars and falling into manholes concerns me somewhat less. To begin with, when walking around on the street, people should be at a heightened alertness level. This is a process of natural selection. I'd bet a donut, that the incidences of robbery among the gadgeting clueless has spiked in relation to the general population. Unaware/unprepared victims are prime pickings for a robber.


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posted by Purp at 07:32 AM

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