I recently wrote about the Fading Away of the manual transmission (see here). As it turns out, I was wrong.
Manuals will not fade away.
They will be regulated out of existence.
Here’s how – and why.
Federal bureaucrats intend to mandate automated braking in all new cars – if the car companies don’t install these systems in every car they sell on their own initiative.
These systems – which use radar proximity sensors to detect the presence of an object in the car’s path and apply the brakes automatically if the driver doesn’t – are already in about a third of 2016 model year cars, but not yet force-fed to the public by government edict.
That’s about to change.
Obama’s transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx says “We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focusing on preventing crashes from ever occurring rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen.”
GM, Ford, Toyota, VW, Mercedes, BMW, and Volvo have already committed – on their own – to making automated braking standard equipment in all their models within the next few years. They have learned to love Big Brother. That it can be profitable to love Big Brother. “Safety” sells. Especially when you can’t say no to it.
The insurance mafia is also pushing this.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety consiglierie Adrian Lund says, “This technology can compensate for the mistakes every driver makes because the systems are always on alert.”
Because, of course, computers never make mistakes.
One could (and I will) dissect this babble pretty easily to get to the meat of the matter, which has about as much to do with “safety” as the TSA has to do with “security.”
Ever hear of the Hegelian dialectic? Create a problem… then offer a solution. The problem created in this case is a nation of dumbed-down drivers made so by diminished expectations and compounded by endless browbeating that anything but the most passive behavior behind the wheel is akin to driving 120 MPH blind drunk with your pants down and a Vegas whore administering oral love.
Solution? Presume all drivers are addled imbeciles – and treat everyone (including non-imbeciles) accordingly.
It is the automotive analog of what writer William Burroughs said 40-something years ago about what they (the government) does after every mass shooting. That is, they go after the people who didn’t do it.
But how does this amount to the death knell of the manual transmission?