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Congress Says I want YOUR car regulated

Juan Barnett November 20, 2012 All Things Hoon, Featured 56 Comments

Last week, Senate bill S.1449, known also as the `Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011′ or `Mariah’s Act’, was voted out of committee and placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar. This typically means an unofficial agreement has been struck between members and the bill will soon be voted on.

The bill authorizes funding for highway safety and contains Congress’ wish list for all-things-automotive that need regulatin’.

It’s important to note, this isn’t the final legislation. Once it clears the Senate floor, where it could be changed again, the House of Representatives will have a chance to potentially add their regulatory must-haves.

Why here? Why Hoon? The changes in this bill could impact what we drive and how we drive it. Below are just a few nuggets I pulled from the bill. If you want to read the whole thing – be my guest! The link is here.

It knows you’ve been drinking (Sec 111):

This section directs NTSHA “to explore the feasibility and potential benefits of and public policy challenges associated with more widespread deployment of in-vehicle technology to prevent alcohol-impaired driving.”

NHTSA already has a grant in place to reward states that have a mandatory interlock (ignition locks) program for convicted drunk drivers. This appears to suggest an even more proactive means at combating drunk driving by leveraging in-vehicle technology.

I can see the headlines now – “Drunk man sits fire to truck after SYNC refuses to start.”

Ohhh-Dometer (Sec 207):

This section increases the fine for violating Chapter 327 of Title 49 (Odometers) from $2,000 to $10,000 for each violation. If you plan on “disconnecting, altering, or tampering with an odometer” – be prepared to pay more.

Got a safety secret? Call the NHTSA hotline (Sec 302):

This provision is a new play on an old dance – whistleblowing. Not only does it require NHTSA to setup a confidential hotline for automotive personnel, it requires them to publicize that hotline in a way that “targets mechanics, dealerships and manufacture personnel.”

The goal is to get employees in the auto industry comfortable with reaching out directly to NHTSA when they believe a safety issue isn’t being reported or addressed by the manufacturer. This is new territory and will be interesting to see how the auto industry, both retail and corporate, react.

Recalls for All (Sec 303):

Ever try to find a non-safety recall on a vehicle? Many of these are housed on internal corporate databases/websites that are accessible by dealers only. Not any longer.

Now automakers will be required to make that information available to the public via a WWW property. This includes “all notices to dealerships of software upgrades and modifications recommended by a manufacturer for all previously sold vehicles. Notice is required even if the software upgrade or modification is not related to a safety defect or noncompliance with a motor vehicle safety standard.”

Need to file a complaint? See your manual (Sec 307):

This section requires automakers to “affix, in the glove compartment or in another readily accessible location on the vehicle, a sticker, decal, or other device that provides, in simple and understandable language, information about how to submit a safety-related complaint to the National.”  How to submit a complaint will also need to be printed and placed in the new owner’s manual as well.

Whistleblower Protections for Auto Employees (Sec 308):

This amendment to Title 49 means an employee cannot be fired, discriminated against, loose pay or have any negative action taken against him/her for providing or planning to provide any information to NHTSA or other agency regarding a vehicle defect, noncompliance or any other violation of the law.

In other words, if you snitch – your boss can’t touch you. 

Like most whistleblower programs in the federal government this will likely be handled by the agency’s Office of Inspector General.

There doesn’t appear to be a stipulation for disclosing information to the media which means an email to tips@hooniverse.com while appreciated, might still get you fired. 

This is a colossal undertaking for NHTSA, DOT and all the automakers. They will all need to work together to ensure industry employees are educated on whistleblower protections.

This change won’t have a direct impact on vehicle owners, at least not an immediate or outward impact. The average car owner can expect to see a whistleblower poster or sign in the service bay at their dealership.

The real impact to consumers will come when an industry employee makes a communication that results in a safety recall.

If you want to read more on this, I wrote about it at length a few months ago: LINK.

NHTSA, I quit. General Motors, hello (Sec 309):

If you work at NHTSA as a ‘covered vehicle safety official’ and leave, you cannot, for a period of 2 years, ‘communicate or appear before any officer or employee of NHTSA on behalf of an automaker.

Just last week we learned that Ron Medford (the #2 guy at NHTSA) would join Google as the Director of Safety for the G-Car in January.

Had this law be enacted and Google determined to be a car company, this law would have prohibited Medford’s move. 

The Senate’s version of the most recent highway bill (MAP21 Act) signed by the President contained similar anti-revolving door language. Upon conference with the House that language was dumbed down into simple report language.

The language here in this bill could face the same fate. I assume a member of Congress or a professional staff member on the House Transportation Committee doesn’t agree that NHTSA needs an anti-revolving door policy. We’ll see if this provision holds up.

Vehicle Electronics:

Title 4 is titled Vehicle Electronics and Safety Standards. It touches many different electro gadgets in the car and establishes a “Council for Vehicle Electronics, Vehicle Software, and Emerging Technologies.” The council’s mission – better understand vehicle electronics, to better regulate vehicle electronics.

Brake over-ride / standard stopping distance (402):

Directs NHTSA to establish metrics on how long it takes to stop a vehicle while at applying full throttle at the same time. You guessed it. This is unintended acceleration medicine. The performance will be based on the size and weight of the vehicle and will also require some redundant backup for vehicles with electronic throttles. Question is – will this eradicate the ability to do standing power brake burnouts? *gasp*

Go Pedal Makeover (Sec 403):

This is a preventative form of unintended acceleration therapy, Pedal Placement Standard. NHTSA will be required to say how big, where and what kind of accelerator pedal OEMs will have to use. This could mean bad news for heel-toe applications depending the outcome. You’ll want to keep an eye on this rule.

Gremlins Are Dead (Sec 404):

Dear VW owner’s, REJOICE! This section establishes standard “electronic systems performance requirements.” While this is aimed at systems interfering with one another and the security of those systems (hacking), cross your fingers it’ll result in an overall improved German electrical system. Or not.

Bring back the key?

Keyless ignitions – they are in just about every car today. This means the masses have them. And you’ve heard the stories – Car left running, kills owner. Not only can’t the masses remember to turn off their car, they are confused on how to stop it during a runaway car situation. 

Congress hopes to fix that by directing NHTSA to establish rules and standards regarding pushbutton ignition systems.

No Xbox while Driving (sec 407):

This section would create a rule that would prohibit “broadcast television, movies, video games, and other forms of similar visual entertainment that is visible to the driver while driving.” Isn’t this already a law? Thankfully the folks on Capitol Hill were wise enough to include an exception for navigation, weather, time and audio settings. Not included in that exception – Top Gear reruns (sad).

DING! You left your BFF in the backseat (sec 503):

Title 5 looks to make a few changes aimed to better protect children from their stupid parents. If you forget you have a child in your car, you’re a..@#$%^ moron.

Sec 503 creates a rule that would provide a safety belt warning to any rear occupants. At the same time Sec 504 creates a similar rule that would remind the driver (horn blowing?) that a person was still seated in the rear of a vehicle. These two technologies would use things like weight sensors and a buckled-belt to determine if a person was in fact in the car.

The law also aims to standardize the child anchor systems, specifically it will define a maximum child weight and improve accessibility and visibility of the anchors.

Phones vs GPS (Sec 108):

This section prescribes laws and punishments states must have in place in order to qualify for federal grants aimed at distracted driving awareness and prevention.  Under this section a “personal wireless communications device” expressly excludes a “global navigation system.”

I find it odd the law went out of its way to state “does not include a global navigation satellite system receiver used for navigation purposes.” People who buy standalone navigation systems are either new to technology or they own an iPhone5. Excluding the latter, wouldn’t someone new to technology, fumbling around with a GPS while driving, make them just as dangerous if not more than someone texting?

Congress loves you!

If you’re still reading this – thank you for sticking around. I know this wasn’t standard Hooniverse programming. I find comfort in knowing what Congress has in store for our beloved automobile.

It’s like looking back to see the belt in you parent’s hand. It’s still scary, and it’s still going to hurt, but there is comfort in knowing what was coming.

Now get out there and buy up all the cars that’ll still let you power brake them while watching Xbox!

  • Devin

    Only one that bothers me is the seat thing, since back seats are used for cargo as well as people – in my case, used for cargo way more than they're used for people. Presumably the weight sensor will be turned off if the seats are folded, but do you always fold down the seat when you're hauling stuff in the back? Especially in a sedan, where sometimes that's the only way to fit in a large and bulky object like a television.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      Agreed. The only other one I see a potential problem with is the pedal size one, depending on how it's implemented. At best, I see no point in it… I guess as long as I can still get down there with some vice grips and move the gas and brake closer together for heel-toe it won't be a problem.

      The ridiculous thing is, almost none of this crap would be necessary if they would stop giving licenses to anyone who can see past their extended middle finger.

      • jeepjeff

        I think the problem with more restrictive licenses is how we've built the country. We're setup so that if you don't have a car, life is much more difficult. There aren't many places where well-off people have low car ownership rates (Manhattan being one of the stand-outs). Improving road safety by tightening license requirements is going to be wildly unpopular as long as it is a pain to get around without a car. And I used to be unabashedly pro-public transportation. Then I stopped being a poor college student and moved to a city with an even worse bus system. And now I'm here.

        I am playing devil's advocate here. I would love to get the idiots off the road who would obviously rather be doing something else.

        • Devin

          Manhattan is one of the few places in North America with a very good public transit system, which is really the problem.

          I fully and enthusiastically support good public transit, because that way all the people who don't want to drive don't have to, making the road safer for those of us who do.

        • Scandinavian Flick

          I completely agree, and I realize that is the main problem. If there was better access to public transit, it wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem. Our urban sprawl doesn't really allow for it though… Improving what we have would help, but it's a massive undertaking that California can't even remotely afford right now. (So we go invest in a high speed rail from the Bay Area to Southern CA…)

          I know of a number of people who are above average drivers, but would much rather leave the driving to someone else, or take public transit. There are some people are terrified of driving. If the alternative was there, people would use it.

          I could rant for days on this matter…

          • jeepjeff

            Not only can we not afford it at the moment, the budget cuts have been making what we have worse. AC Transit has taken a massive nose-dive since 2008. I don't have a good answer. I voted for Measure B1 (as much as I dislike sales taxes), but it seems to have failed by less than 700 votes out of 500,000.

            EDIT: And you're right, there are plenty of good drivers who would rather not drive. My wife is in this category.

          • Vairship

            "Our urban sprawl doesn't really allow for it though…"
            I always hear that argument, but I don't buy it. Take the Netherlands for example: population: about 16 million. Area: about 16000 square miles. So about 1000 people per square mile (one of the most densely populated countries in the world).
            Los Angeles county: population: almost 10 million. Area: about 4000 square miles. So about 2500 people per square mile. Clearly it is easier to have a decent public transportation network in L.A. county than in the Netherlands.
            San Diego county: population about 3 million. Area: about 4200 square miles. So about 714 people per square mile.Less populous than the Netherlands, but not out of line with the rest of Western Europe, especially if you focus on the coastal and inland valley regions.
            Orange county: population: about 3 million. Area: about 790 square miles. So about 3800 people per square mile. Clearly there should be trains running from everywhere in Orange county to everywhere else in Orange county at 15 minute intervals.

            From the above you can see that the reason public transportation is virtually non-existent in Southern California is not because of "urban sprawl" but simply because people don't like paying taxes, even if everyone I talk to loves the public transportation network in Western Europe and would love to have it here. Somehow in the U.S. "taxes = bad", even if you get something great back for it.

            • HTWHLS

              No offense..but have you ever ridden in public transportation? It's the province of thieves, dirtbags, inconsiderate and poorly-behaved miscreants. It used to be the buses..then it got to the trains..now its seeping into airplanes.

              It's disgusting, filthy and full of the worst that the populace can offer, with a few business travelers in-between.

              I'm taxed enough. In this area (ATL metro), getting on public transit is likely to get you robbed (MARTA) or at least sick. We've been forced to subsidized the outlying bus system that has no ridership, is inconvenient and doesn't serve the area well at all. Why would I take 4 buses, 140 minutes and 39 miles to accomplish what I can do in 45 minutes and 16 miles, all the while sparing me from dealing with drunks, stoners, thugs and other impolite society.

              When society becomes civil, public transportation has an opportunity..otherwise, leave me..and the picking of my pocket in additional taxes, out.

              • xlmedia

                I'm taxed enough. In this area (ATL metro), getting on public transit is likely to get you robbed (MARTA) or at least sick. We've been forced to subsidized the outlying bus system that has no ridership, is inconvenient and doesn't serve the area well at all. Why would I take 4 buses, 140 minutes and 39 miles to accomplish what I can do in 45 minutes and 16 miles, all the while sparing me from dealing with drunks, stoners, thugs and other impolite society.

                It's a sweeping generalization like this that makes it hard to take your…take…on public transportation seriously.

                I would much prefer to not subject myself to ATL's hellish traffic and not put so much wear and tear on my car by taking public transportation.

              • RegalRegalia

                Wow, you are just so ignorant. I'm happy you think you are better than the masses. Do you ever think that the world would be a nicer place if you didn't consider so much of its population as hopeless?
                We always complain about politics on Hooniverse and you are the reason why. Go troll someplace else.

            • Scandinavian Flick

              I appreciate the effort put into your point, and I don't disagree with it… entirely… But those numbers are only part of the whole equation. When I refer to "urban sprawl" as the reasoning, I am over simplifying the issue to succinctly make a point.

              I'm not terribly familiar with the way most of Southern California is laid out, (CA is nearly as long as Great Britain, so it might as well be a different state for all intents and purposes…) but my admittedly limited understanding leads me to believe it's similar to my home area; the San Francisco Bay Area. Here it's mostly a bunch of suburbs interconnected with about 2.5 main metropolitan areas; San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland.

              Now, within those cities, it's much easier to use public transit to get around. But that's only for people who live and work within the city. If you live in one of the suburbs, it takes at least 15 mins just to get to the train station that will get you within spitting distance of more public transit, which you will be lucky if it drops you off within a mile of your office. Using my own commute as an example, it takes me 1 hour to drive. I used to take public transit, which involved going to Caltrain, (15 mins to get there, plus 30 mins on the train) transferring to BART, (1.5 hours ride with one train transfer) then a one mile walk. (another 20 mins) You can see how that wasn't practical for me… The same goes for the rest of the Bay Area to varying degrees. Add to that the fact that people don't like public transit in general, in large part because it's dirty, unreliable, and expensive, and you get a place where it currently really doesn't work…

              If you look at places where public transit really works, like Taiwan or Japan, it's because they are densely packed, and you can get from one place to another with relative ease. Plus their transit systems are clean, people have respect for it, and it's already well established. Here, simply put, it would take a lot of work, restructuring, and changing people's notions of what defines public transit for it to be viable.

              • Vairship

                Ah, but that's exactly the point. There is some public transportation downtown, but it doesn't connect to the outlying areas. In Europe, Japan, Taiwan etcetera it WOULD be connected not only to the suburbs (by buses or trolleys) but also to he villages between the major cities. You'd have express trains and separate trains that stop in between.

                Looking at the SF Bay area, there should be trains going from SF to San Mateo/Palo Alto/Santa Clara/San Jose, to Oakland/Berkeley/Vallejo/Fairfield/Sacramento, to Oakland/Hayward/Fremont/San Jose and to Oakland/Livermore/Hayward/Modesto (or Stockton) every 15 minutes. And those trains should move at 75 mph, not the scenic bumbling along at 40 mph. And of course they should be policed so they don't become dirty/unsafe and should be maintained so they're reliable.

                But it's a chicken-and-egg situation: until the money is poured in by taxpayers, public transportation will be unreliable, dirty and attract only the poorest part of the population (and criminals). Which in turn means everyone needs a car, which is actually more expensive than public transportation. For example, I have 2 cars: my Corvair (for fun) and my daily driver (whose only task is to get me to work and back, which is 4 miles each way). Of course it would be cheaper to take the bus and sell the daily driver, but I'd need to take 2 buses which don't connect schedule-wise, meaning it's a 45 minute journey and I still have to walk the last half a mile.It's actually faster to take the bicycle (45 minutes door-to-door). And I live just 2 miles from downtown San Diego. Crazy!

                Similarly, I'd like to drop my Corvair off at a Corvair specialist in Chino (120 miles away). To get back home I'd have to be at the Ontario train station (near Chino) at around 8am, and I'd get to the San Diego train station around 6pm! For a 120 mile trip! And on some weekdays, you can't even go at all!

                Now does that mean it's impossible to have a decent public transportation network? Of course not. You just have to have to put in the same amount of money as the people in Japan/Taiwan/Western Europe and you need the various agencies (bus/train/trolley) to coordinate schedules. It's not difficult, but nobody wants to pay taxes so instead we all sit in traffic jams in our expensive, boring daily driver cars.

        • Maymar

          Bad drivers make getting around misery for the rest of us. Let 'em suffer for a while until they learn to drive.

          • Vairship

            Better yet: improve public transportation while at the same time making the driving test tougher (sorry, more realistic). That way, they'll never actually drive and therefore won't be bad drivers.

            • Maymar

              This is true. I just figure it'll be easier to sell the public on good transportation if they don't have an alternative (or, if gas gets Europe-expensive).

    • craymor

      I agree, the reason I bought a hatchback was my dogs, It's bad enough when one of them deciedes to sit in the front and turns off the airbag and the stupid light goes one.
      Now it's going to warn me when I leave them in the car? (going to lunch for example) WTF? I want to be able to turn this off, or even better no have to turn it on in the first place….

      • jeepjeff

        You may want to look into used Chrysler products a few years after this goes into effect. They include a time-delayed auto-disabling system in their vehicles.

        //pretty sure my airbag is broken right now…

        • You really should test the airbag to see if it is broken. Maybe place a sack of concrete in the seat and hit a tree.

          • jeepjeff

            Sounds like a maintenance project for the weekend. Although, I'm not sure how bloodying my knuckles on a tree is going set off my airbag.

            • Well, you could just hit the bumper with a sledge hammer. That might work.

    • TDI_FTW

      Simple solution here is to just have the seat belts strapped in when you're loading stuff in the car. Mechanics here use that trick also when test driving cars after maintenance. They put the seat belts in and just sit on top of them.
      I've used seat belts also to somewhat secure the cargo in the back seat 🙂

  • MVEilenstein

    Next time someone asks me why I will never buy a new car in my life, I'm pointing back to this link.

    I have a few choice words for the federal government, none of them fit for public consumption.

  • Van_Sarockin

    The parts that will improve reliability, provide more information to owners, discourage regulatory capture and protect whistleblowing are quite good. The parts that add more intrusive electronics and reduce personal ability to operate the car are bad.

    A breathalyzer that can tell you if you're over the limit would be very good – you shouldn't drive drunk and DUIs are expensive and painful, much less the accidents and injuries that result. A breathalyzer that prevented you from driving could be a problem – what if there's an emergency, or simply that the gizmo has broken?

    • Joe Dunlap

      We have them in Oregon, and they are a pain in the A**. They do however, have an emergency override, but it is still a pain in the A**. Im a tech, and I run into them infrequently at our shop. (Says something about the level of our clientele, I know).

  • Some of these may be very inconvenient for me in 10 years.

  • JayP2112

    Brake over-ride / standard stopping distance (402)

    For the Audis, brake override has been in the cars for 10+ years. Another failed part on the A4 was something on the brake pedal. I never fixed it but on cold mornings, the weight of the pedal would cause it to set off the brake lights and presumably let the car know I was 'riding the brakes'.

    After a few seconds of riding the brakes, the engine would drop to idle disregarding my throttle input. Thank you 60 Minutes.

    Toe-heel wasn't a problem but left foot braking was gone. In a turbo AWD car… this is a crime.

  • danleym

    Most of what I find myself wanting to write is overly political and I don't feel like going there. So, I will just say this:

    Gremlins aren't dead!
    <img src="http://www.lovelyabandon.com/uploads/2011/04/amc_gremlin_72_1.jpg&quot; width=500>

    Ok, maybe this one is…
    <img src="http://cdn.dragzine.com/files/2010/10/DSC5562.jpg&quot; width=500>

    • The second one isn't dead. If anything, it's on a roll.

      • wisc47

        I always thought that Gremlins were kind of fly.

    • dukeisduke

      "Roll over! Good boy!"

  • name_too_long

    I was good up to the brake over-ride. From there on, I agree with nothing but making ze Germans get their electrics sorted.

  • EW Niedermeyer

    I like how the bill has the same 2015 Event Data Recorder mandate as the MAP-21 Transpo bill, which has already passed. Why, it's almost as if one government hand doesn't know what the other is doing!

    To be fair, I'm not sure if the MAP-21 language is the same… haven't read enough of that miracle of modern legislation. Either way, I'm sure my fellow Hoons will wonder why the government needs your car to

    "capture and store certain events, such as rapid deceleration, full-throttle acceleration, or full braking that may indicate unintended acceleration, even if there is not a crash or airbag deployment."

    When they come for the WOT, they are coming for all of us. To the barricades, comrades!

    • FuzzyPlushroom

      Yeah, I'm not sorry to say that if the airbags don't go off, there's no reason to store any data. Everyone occasionally gets cut off or needs to merge onto a crowded freeway.

  • Alcology

    You better watch out
    You better not cry
    You better not pout
    I'm telling you why
    Mariah's Act is coming to town
    Mariah's Act is coming to town
    Mariah's Act is coming to town

    They'll now know when you're hooning
    And whether you are drunk
    They'll take away heel toeing
    And dead hookers from your trunk!
    Goodness sake

    You better watch out
    You better not cry
    You better not pout
    I'm telling you why
    Mariah's Act is coming to town
    Mariah's Act is coming to town
    Mariah's Act is coming to town

    But now you can complain,
    And tattle on some jerks.
    Just no more watching porn
    In the car going to work!
    Goodness sake

    You better watch out
    You better not cry
    You better not pout
    I'm telling you why
    Mariah's Act is coming to town
    Mariah's Act is coming to town
    Mariah's Act is coming to town

    This is a mixed bag of some stuff that could help, some that's useless, and some that could be bad.

  • Everything after Sec 308 causes me some concern. If nothing else it will cause the cost of a new car to go up $500-$2,000 to add on a bunch of nearly useless technology and gadgets. I had to pay (built into the base price) for tire pressure sensors in my 2011 truck that doesn't even have power locks or power windows! I've driven just fine for over 20 years without having my car tell me the air pressure in my tires MIGHT be low by 1/2 pound.

    • SSurfer321

      after four years, the batteries die in them and you have to replace the entire sensor. At $125/each. at least that's how much a Subaru TPMS costs.

      • BobWellington

        Mine are 7 years old and still going strong ('06 Explorer).

    • Officer Farva

      I actually wish my Ranger had this feature. The tires constantly lose pressure and it's a huge pain in the ass to add more air. It's a good thing to keep an eye on but any method that makes it easier is welcome to me.

      I'm in agreement with people who fear driving due to the ass-load of incompetence on the roads. I don't feel comfortable driving anymore and I hate it when student drivers clog up the roads as well. Please, if we're going to put MORE drivers on the road, GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

      • HTWHLS

        The majority of the bad drivers on the road aren't the new drivers or younger drivers..its the a-hole jerks hogging the left lane with their phone to their ear..the distracted soccer mom who can't maintain a lane or the BMW d-bags who constantly believe their are superior and need to be ahead of you. Throw in some local trash with fart cans who think their Schumacher and you have a potpourri of bad drivers (and I'm leaving out the 'no turn signal' or 'left turn from the far right lane' – yellow light accelerators and 'multi-lane drifters' to save time).

  • wisc47

    I'm all for regulations that are vital to safety and make a lot of sense (seat belts, airbags, crash standards, etc). But this is the point where I say enough is enough. I think we've pretty much gotten to the point where any extra safety feature is unnecessary, will weigh more, cost more, and be one more thing that can go wrong and then need fixing. It's okay though, I'll just keep buying old cars.

  • Xedicon

    So tired of all this regulatory crap, and all because people can't handle not screwing around with their phone for 10 minutes while they're driving, or doing makeup or reading or some other form of dumb crap while behind the wheel. The level of disrespect people have for driving is incredible and infuriating. I think my favorite is kids who tape their phones to the steering wheel so they can more easily text while driving – nothing like getting your face splattered into goo when the airbag deploys.

    What we're seeing is an attempt to regulate stupid. Yeah…

    • Officer Farva

      If more people took the time to learn how to drive (and I mean DRIVE, not cruise along with eyes glued to their phones, etc), there would be no such need for more regulations and driverless cars.

  • gearz1

    Every day it is more rules and more laws. Nothing else for them to do but restrict our every movement. Every breath regulated.
    Cradle to grave.The part that annoys me is the "lawmakers" are exempt from a lot of the rules set for the working class.

    • danleym

      Anyone diagnosed with an STD (or STI, as they like to call them now, but I thought you guys might think I was talking about a Subaru) has to be reported to the CDC, who tracks those (among other diseases). The one place in the country exempt from this requirement? Yep, Washington, D.C. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

      • gearz1

        I will find my sketchpad and draw at least one conclusion.

    • Officer Farva

      You have the dimwits on the road to thank for that. You want to change it? Demand that the age for driving be raised. Hell, we need a system like those found in several European countries where people must graduate from one class to another in order to be able to operate a vehicle for X amount of time, etc.

    • RegalRegalia

      Yeah, but I think for a functional anarchic system to be sustainable there cannot be private property in the sense we know currently. Otherwise, like Locke says, we're just a bunch of individuals planting stakes in the ground, calling it ours and hoping someone stronger doesn't wrest it from us.
      It's always fascinating to think of what another world system would look like, but what would change about your life if lawmakers weren't "restricting our every movement" Freedom is an essential value but when it is conflated with strict individualism the capabilities of a society are reduced. None of us are self-sufficient; at the very least it took two people to make each of us. Cooperation does turn into control, I get that and understand the dangers of protections that ultimately impose sanctions on questioning the status quo.
      My point is that it's humanity we talk about when we talk politics but just because bad players make wrong moves is no reason to believe we need to throw the board.

  • TurboBrick

    I could have sworn I clicked on Hooniverse and not on TTAC…

  • ptschett

    Don't they have more important things to do? Like passing a budget or figuring out this fiscal-cliff thing?

  • I have a few rules when it comes to proposed legislation.
    1. Never trust anyone who says, "What about the children?"
    2. Never fall for "If it saves just one life"
    3. Always be suspect of laws named after someone.
    There are more, but my (Gary) Johnson is showing.

    • HTWHLS

      I'd give this post a +5 if I could.

      • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

        Took care of that for you.

        If I win a giant lottery, I'm writing a big check to Gary Johnson in the hope he runs in 2016.

  • Like Alff and others above have stated, I'll just stick with what I know, which is old cars and trucks. More regulation and bureaucracy might make some people happy and feel noble, but it just complicates things for the rest of us.

  • Sky_Render

    "People who buy standalone navigation systems are either new to technology or they own an iPhone5."

    Or maybe I want a navigation system that isn't depended on the celluar network and is actually reliable? Just a thought.

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    This merely means I'll likely continue to purchase older vehicles…found a local 1995 Fleetwood Brougham, one owner, elderly, with 44K miles on it…and when I go newer, hopefully hack will have been discovered/implemented to remove some of this crap.

    Idiocracy…we're getting there.

  • corytate

    section 303 is going to flood dealerships with idiots who look at a recall that specifically says a select range of vins are affected, or that the recall is not to be done UNLESS a specific complaint has been logged, or for a specific MIL code, and say "my car has a check engine light! I want this recall done now!" even if it isn't applicable, and "I saw my car was affected by this recall! I want it done right now!" even though the car isn't in the affected range of vehicles.
    It's going to suck.