We see the results of a lot of car accidents. In 99.99% of cases, driver error is at fault. We’ve yet to see a car that took it upon itself to cause a crash (this is not 2001, or Space Odyssey, and there is no evil computer called HAL).
The technological advances in car manufacture and safety has evolved for over 100 years and accelerated sharply over the past two decades, and that’s a wonderful thing. But the recent call to stop sales of new vehicles that are not fitted with electronic stability control (ESC) is a step too far in our humble opinion. NZ has one of the widest range of choices in the new car market, there’s something for everyone and every price range. Buyers can pay as little as $15,000 for a new car, or as much as $500,000. The Chinese made Cherry J11 got a bad rap in the press this week for not having ESC – really, what are you expecting for $22,000 new? Despite no ESC, the Chery is 10 times safer than the cars we learned to drive in the 70’s and 100 times better than the cars our grandparents grew up with.
But the AA wants cars banned if they’re not loaded with ESC, ABS, air-bags, computers and every other safety feature – and we’re sure nanny legislators will be happy to oblige – they love rules and they know what’s best for all of us. It’s a shame though because a) this will reduce consumer choice b) increase the base-line cost of a new car c) the world is already over regulated and d) adults don’t need to be told what to do as if they’re naughty and slightly stupid children.
Cynics will say the panelbeating industry welcomes ‘unsafe’ cars. Not true. We see a lot of unsafe vehicles involved in accidents, but they’re not 2013 models lacking ESC, they’re 15, 20 and sometimes 25 years old with the high probability of neither WOF or rego. Crash Management would like to see the legislators tackle that too-hard basket, and while they’re at it, find an effective solution to problem drivers who consider the benefit of a license unnecessary. As we said, cars don’t crash themselves.