A Preview of Things to Come

  • December 30, 2023

It will be 2024 soon and that means we’re only one calendar year away from the 2026 model year. That is the decreed-upon year when all new cars sold in this country must have “impaired driver” detection (and action) “technology.” Meaning, “technology” that monitors  driver performance – the actual wording used in the decree, as opposed to the language used to market the decree as being a measure to prevent “drunks” from driving (and never mind that, per the decree, everyone who drives is to be presumed “drunk” until he proves otherwise, to the car, as he drives it) that takes action when a driver’s performance falls outside allowable parameters.

Elements of this “technology” are already embedded in many 2024 (and 2023) model vehicles and I thought you might like a preview of them – which I can offer, having driven (as a car journalist who gets to test drive them) many 2023 and 2024 vehicles that already monitor your “performance” as a “driver.”

Actually, they don’t do that. They scold – and correct – certain driver behavior/actions. It’s a distinction of some importance, because of the deception. Your “performance” as a driver is not what’s to be monitored and corrected.

It is your obedience.

For instance: Almost all cars sold in 2023 and 2024 have a system that can tell whether you have used a turn signal before making a lane change that will proceed to correct your attempt to change lanes if you haven’t signaled first, by electronically trying to steer the car back into the lane you’re trying to leave for the one adjacent. This is marketed as Lane Keep Assistance Technology. The premise being you require “assistance.”

The fact being the car’s programming objects to your disobedient exercise of judgment.

The law says a driver must always signal when changing lanes. The law also says a driver must always come to a complete stop at every stop sign. In neither case is it always necessary and it is sometimes just mindlessly obedient to do it. Why stop completely – robotically – at every stop sign, even where it’s clear there is no reason to, other than it being “the law”? It wastes gas by losing momentum(which must then be recovered, using more gas (and charge, if you are an EV driver) and it increases wear and tear on the car.

But the main thing is, it’s just mindlessly obedient to mindlessly obey every traffic regulation to the letter. Such mindlessness discourages the paying of attention, the evaluation of each driving situation and then responding in a rational/reasonable and mindful way to the situation.

That, of course, is not what is wanted. Mindfulness is the last thing wanted. It is what “driver performance technology” is meant to punish.

This will be done via more than just “assistance.”

For instance, the “drowsy driver” technology that is embedded in the 2024 model I’m test driving this week. I was out for a drive in it yesterday and not the least bit drowsy, having already had several cups of very strong coffee. Apparently, the car does not have caffeine sensing “technology” (though that is probably coming; can’t have drivers behind the wheel who might be twitchy).

Anyhow, a box kept popping up in the instrument cluster – they’re mostly LCD displays now and what they display is only incidentally instrumental – electronically pestering me to “keep my eyes on the road.” Which of course I had been doing – else I’d have left the road, probably. But I do tend to look around me as I drive, so as to maintain a picture of what’s going on around me as I drive. This, apparently, deviates from the parameters of “driver performance” programmed into the system. It wants me to look only where it thinks I ought to be looking. And it watches me, to make sure I do.

It did not matter that my performance as a driver was within parameters – in that I did not leave the road or even wander across the median line. The car demanded obedience to its programming parameters.

These demands are toothless – for now – in that all the car could do at the moment was scold me via the flashing box (and chime). Of a piece with the annoying chimes (more like buzzers) that electronically needle you to “buckle up” – even for a drive down to your mailbox, because saaaaaaaaaaaafety first!

More accurately, conditioning first.

The seatbelt buzzer is designed to make it so annoying to drive “unbuckled” – even down your driveway, to the mailbox – that you will automatically (and mindlessly) “buckle up” as soon as you sit down. Good doggie! Your exercise of judgment is very much not wanted. What is wanted is for you to get used to doing as you’re told – just because you were told. Like a good doggie. It is of a piece with getting people used to queuing up to take off their shoes and holdup their arms (while a government goon runs his hands up and down their legs and probes the perimeter of their crotches). After awhile, this training becomes routine and people just expect it and go along with it because it has been normalized.

Ask any dog trainer.

The training will also include the necessary correction, of course. In the “drowsy driver” example described above, it will likely come in the form of an automatic adjustment of the amount of money the insurance mafia you’re forced to do “business” with can (and will) automatically debit from your Central Bank Digital Currency account as punishment for your disobedience. Which of course will be characterized as poor “driver performance,” which will be conflated with unsafe driving.

Just the same as not wearing a “mask” was conflated with spreading plague (never mind that you didn’t have it and never mind that the “mask” prevented no one from getting it).

What matters, uber alles, is obedience.

And that is what they really mean when they talk about “driver performance.”

. . .

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