Cars Are Not Sentient Beings With Free Will

Image: ABC7
Image: ABC7

On Saturday, someone driving a Mercedes SUV jumped the curb at a Parker shopping center, smashed through the glass storefront, and took down seven people inside. At least one person, teenager Rylie Guentensberger, is in critical condition.

Last Friday, a driver took out a post office in Pine. On Sunday, another person operating a vehicle plowed through someone’s home in Morrison. On both occasions, people were inside and could have been killed or seriously injured, though they weren’t.

The incidents resulted from human beings operating machines capable of maiming and killing people. Not, as ABC7 and 9News tell it, free-willed metal monsters with the ability to plow through structures on their own accord.

A “runaway car” did not tear through “the entire length of the store, shattering glass, hitting people and knocking over merchandise laden shelves, before coming to a stop at the back door.” A person behind the wheel did.

It was not a Ford Escape that “crashed through the wall” of a post office. It was a driver, though 9News gave no explanation of what might’ve led to the crash. Just your garden variety car-versus-building story, apparently.

We’ve been through this a million times before — it’s a matter of accuracy, not semantics. It’s not okay for drivers to strike people crossing the street, shopping in a store, or sitting in their living room. So when they do, blaming it on a “runaway” car not only obscures problems like careless driving and dangerous street design, it’s unjust to victims.

  • If the press cared enough to follow up they would find these crashes are probably all right foot pedal errors which were predictable and preventable. We have allowed those in charge of driver legislation and training to teach the very complicated and dangerous right foot braking method, with its very poor reaction time and susceptibility to right foot pedal error on automatic cars and trucks. This even though there is No Scientific support let alone Scientific Comparisons to safer and simpler braking methods like the left foot braking method. The teaching of right foot braking on automatic vehicles must be banned. Reports issued by NHTSA (DOT HS 811 597 and 812 058) highlight the dangers of right foot braking on automatic vehicles. Score to date, 30,000 documented but probably closer to 150,000 dead, millions injured, and costs in the billions. What a price we are paying because of the typical male driver’s systemic belief in an obsolete method of braking an automatic car, the scientific foundation of which is “That’s the way it’s always been taught”!

    • Devin Quince

      I hope this is sarcasm