Monday, March 29, 2010

Banning smoking in cars?

The powers-that-be in the UK are trying to ban smoking in cars now. This is on top of banning eating and drinking whilst driving (which they enforce - ask me how I know) and cellphone use and texting whilst driving (which they don't enforce). It's the epitome of the nanny state; it's deemed unacceptable to have a snack or take a drink while you're driving, but at the same time its perfectly OK to have an onboard computer so complicated that you need a degree to work it (systems as distracting and complicated as BMW's iDrive or Ford's Sync). It seems even heating and A/C controls are no longer straightforward. The rental car I had recently had indistinct digital controls where tactile knobs and dials used to suffice, and an onboard menu-driven setup system more complex than any cellphone I've ever used. Just to tune the radio required navigating through a complex multi-level computer interface that made Microsoft Windows look user-friendly.
You can't ban eating, drinking and smoking in cars in the name of safety whilst ignoring the increasing drive towards super complex user interfaces.

1 comment:

Silas said...

This is one of the reasons I won't consider BMW (even though now they're one of a rapidly shrinking number of options should I want a big estate - Volvo have announced that the US will not get the V70 next year, since this year they only sold 1800 in the entire country).

Anything that requires you to look at it to work it in your car is the wrong design. My stereo is crap because it has oodles of identical tiny buttons where it should have about ten huge ones, and a couple of knobs to twirl. My heating and air conditioning panel, meanwhile, is great because it has big clunky knobs to turn and they can be set entirely by feel. Guess which one of these is an aftermarket add-on? (In my defence, the stereo was put in for previous owners; the original stereo had crap sound quality but better buttons.)

There are things one can legally do while driving which are a far worse distraction than smoking. Typical Brownite rubbish, in my opinion.