Now that talking and texting on your cell while driving is a felonious act in Ontario as of this week, discussion has turned to the various things that distract drivers.
While I personally agree that hands-free is the way to go for mobiles and that no one in their right mind would text behind the wheel, you know what the Nanny State can be like. The natural inclination of regulators is to regulate.
Radios with dozens of presets accessible only through tiny little buttons can’t be safe. Satellite radio? It all depends on the receiver. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a ban on CD players given all the fumbling that can go on with the jewel case and trying to find the track you want. Six-pack CD changes are at least six times more dangerous. Newer models have multi-gigabyte hard drives capable of holding thousands of songs; try doing a song search at 100 km/h. I once drove an Audi with an awesome dashboard satellite radio system and I spent more time looking at the gorgeous screen whilst flipping through channels than I did on the car in front me. And even when we get a seamless and foolproof way of integrating our iPods into our dashboards, they’re going to cause problems.
Don’t get me wrong. I love all this convenient gadgetry. I just worry about The Other Guy. And it’s about to get a whole lot worse. Welcome to Wi-Fi on wheels.
Chrysler was one of the first to offer the option of turning their vehicles into rolling Wi-Fi hotspots. Now GM is offering Wi-Fi for its full line of vehicles. A system made by Autonet Mobile creates a Wi-Fi cloud that extends up to 150 feet. That means not only will the kids in the back seat have access, but so will the guy two lanes over who will inevitably bob and weave so he can maintain his laptop connection. Best encrypt it fast.
WiFi will also make it possible to literally surf for tens of thousands of online radio stations and music surfaces. Want to listen to that punk rock netcaster from France while driving on the Trans-Canada between Brandon and Regina? No problem. Your Pandora or Last.fm stream? Piece of cake.
Imagine how this may impact traditional radio. I’m distracted already.
– The Ongoing History Of New Music can be heard on stations across Canada. Read more at www.ongoinghistory.com and www.exploremusic.com
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