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November 29, 2005

fee simple: Questions from Canada

CTV reports that Transport Canada is testing new spyware that could prevent drivers from speeding.

Many motorists would balk at the idea of an electronic back-seat driver that forcefully prevents them from speeding.

But a new device being road-tested by Transport Canada could mean breaking the speed limit will no longer be an option.

Using global positioning satellite technology and a digital speed-limit map, the device makes it difficult for drivers to press down on the accelerator once they go above a certain speed limit.
This article raises several interesting questions:

Q1) How long (days, hours, minutes?) after the U.S. Department of Transportation would propose such a system for America would it take for the Capitol Hill switchboards light up with calls from enraged drivers (read: "voters")?

Q2) How much will the Radio Shack converter device cost to fool the electronic monitor into thinking the car is always being driven at a legal speed?

Q3) How many millions of unsold new cars (that come WITH the electronic monitor) will remain on dealer's lots while people continue to drive their old cars (WITHOUT the monitor)?

Q4) How many billions of dollars in damages will imposed (against the manufacturer of the device, the auto company that installed it, the company that wrote the software, etc., etc.) when a death occurs because the electronic monitor prohibited a driver from pressing down on the accelerator in a critical situation?

Q5) Doesn't anyone remember the Carter-era seat-belt / ignition interlock fiasco?