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Driving in Australia

How to Choose the Right Car Seat for Your Child

At first, the thought of choosing a car to accommodate a growing family might not occupy your mind, however, if you decide to have a child, you’ll soon need to spring into action. Because motorists are often caught short in terms of being unprepared, it’s important that you follow the right advice to ensure that you can choose the right car seat for your child.

 

What should I look for in child seats?

There are two key considerations when you start to chop for a child seat. First, you need to consider the age of your child. Secondly, you should also be conscious of their size. In most cases, you will be able to stick with a series of configurations, starting with a rearward facing seat, before move onto a forward-facing seat, and then finally, a booster seat. Make sure that the seat you are choosing is appropriate for your child, as there may be variations between each model.

Rear-facing baby seats are compulsory for infants up to 6 months old, however, you need to pick the right model based on the height of your baby. Once your child is older than 6 months, you may consider the following. Type A1 rear-facing child seats are designed for children up to 70cm tall or 9 months old. Type A2 is appropriate for children up to 80cm in height or roughly 1 year old. Rounding out the series, Type A4 rear-facing child seats are for children between 2 to 3 years of age. At the end of this period, children then progress onto forward-facing Type B seats, more or less up until the age of 4.

Seat installation is a crucial aspect when it comes to ensuring the safety of your child. Rear-facing seats should be held tightly in place with little slack, while forward-facing seats require a 5 or 6-point connection. Always pay attention to the manufacturing standards of the seat, as you should never compromise on quality. Look for the Australian Standards compliance watermark on the product.

 

What about booster seats?

Booster seats are designed for children between the age of 4 and 8 that are no longer appropriate for smaller forward-facing seats. While booster seats are also a type of forward-facing seat, they have a different categorisation, which is Type E or Type F. These seats include a belt, whereas Type B child seats described earlier, do not. If in doubt, however, speak to an expert in store who can advise on what specific solution is best for your child.

Before you head out to the shops though, double check what capacity your vehicle is equipped with to install a child seat. Does it have appropriate anchor points? Will airbags provide protection or could they potentially pose a risk? Is there adequate room to fit the seat, yet alone manoeuvre it? These are important points to consider, never compromise on safety.

How Does Stop-Start Technology Work?

Although they have existed for roughly 30 years, and there have been several concerted efforts to push the technology to the masses, stop-start systems have just started to become more popular in our cars. In fact, if you look at new-release vehicles coming to the market today, a fair portion of them are now banking on the technology, and that is outside the luxury segment of the market as well.

With a growing focus on fuel efficiency and sustainable driving, it’s little surprise that it’s only now we are starting to see this shift. According to manufacturers, motorists can save up to 10% on fuel efficiency. Despite this, in terms of practicality, motorists haven’t quite warmed to the technology. Let’s consider the ins and outs in a little more detail.

start-stop

 

What is a stop-start system?

Stop-start systems are a mechanism that is designed to control the operation of the engine. The purpose is to ensure that the engine is only functioning when the car is moving, and not when it is sitting idle. Therefore, when the car is sitting idle, like at traffic lights, the system will automatically turn off the car’s engine. The technology relies on a myriad of sensors to determine things like brake pressure, vehicle speed, gear changes and more. Once you are ready to move again, the system reactivates the engine.

You might be wandering, doesn’t a system that turns the engine off interfere with other functions of the car? Fortunately, the technology includes a bypass that enables things like air conditioning and the like to continue. Unlike some of the earlier iterations of the technology, or even examples from early last decade, today’s systems are ‘smart’ enough to react to changes in driving conditions, such that your car runs smoothly.

In the past there has also been concern around the potential for excessive wear that comes with stop-start technology. While there is no shying away from the fact that the more stop-start scenarios one endures, the more strain you put on various mechanical parts, manufacturers have found ways to mitigate if not offset this altogether. A large part of that strategy relies on a heavy duty starter and battery, while engine bearings are also lubricated to reduce friction with the crankshaft. So you don’t necessarily need to not worry on that front.

 

Does the technology help address emissions?

stop start 2Although lab testing will point to improvements as far as reducing emissions, the reality is always going to be found out in the field. So when it comes to improvements, in the majority of instances where a vehicle is idle for longer than a minute, stop-start technology will deliver fuel savings. Of course, however, there are more permutations to consider, so it’s not possible to say that there will be benefits in every scenario, particularly once driver behaviour starts to play a role in things.

While the prospect of fuel savings is something that can only help your hip pocket, don’t forget that replacement parts or repairs to the system could set you back more than you might otherwise normally be up for. Nonetheless, with the sheer volume of fuel that goes into our cars these days, an estimated 10% reduction is nothing to sneeze at, even if (most) ‘motorheads’ would prefer to have that engine ticking along at all times.

What Fee Structure Should Apply to Electric Vehicles?

Although electric vehicles have yet to become a common sight on our roads, early discussions have focused on the necessary incentives to push them to the public. Now, however, as network operators begin to roll out the critical infrastructure to support the uptake of EVs, a new question is emerging. That is, what fee structure should apply to electric vehicles?

To date, the majority of EV fast charging sites have operated with a fee structure that sees users charged at a per kilowatt hour rate. This means that motorists are effectively paying by the unit of energy they will consume. Consider it a similar strategy to the per litre fee charged at petrol stations. However, more recently, some operators have also begun to implement a second fee, which is a time-based charge.

This measure stands to act as a potential barrier for the uptake of electric vehicles, with affected motorists already voicing their frustration. It should be noted as well that this was an impediment that also sparked controversy in Norway, a well-established domicile for EVs.

 

 

What are we trying to promote?

Considering electric vehicles are one of the only segments of the new car market experiencing growth – even if from a very low base – we need to be proactive in ensuring that policy and regulation is aligned with the goals we have as a community. So if we want more and more drivers to switch over to EVs from ‘inefficient’ vehicles that consume too much fuel, our fee structure needs to be in the interest of road users.

One of the biggest obstacles we currently face is a lack of transparency in pricing. When you drive up to a petrol station, you know what sort of damage your wallet will be in for. On the contrary, EV charging doesn’t involve clear pricing, nor any clarity around the structure with which an operator may apply over their network. Furthermore, if you’re only just new to the electric vehicle landscape, good luck navigating which charging sites are equipped with DC rapid charging or AC destination charging.

 

 

Making sense of it all

In the end, however, kilowatt hour rates make sense. Everyone pays the same rate, regardless of what type of electric vehicle they are driving, without discrimination between a new and old EV. While our petrol-powered vehicles are effectively price-graded based on their age – with newer vehicles more suited to dearer premium fuels – this doesn’t work against motorists driving older vehicles as time-based fees do when it comes to electric vehicles. What’s more, charging a motorist for the time that they are connected but not charging, goes against the very notion that you get what you pay for.

The speed at which electric vehicles charge is largely out of the control of motorists, with older vehicles typically constrained on account of their in-built ‘rectifier’ componentry, as well as batteries that don’t necessarily feature pre-conditioning features found in newer models. EVs running smaller batteries are also up against it due to the need to recharge their battery to a higher percentage than those with a larger battery, which generally charge at a slower rate once they hit 70-80% of their charging capacity.

What’s clear is that if we really intend to promote electric vehicles as a next-gen driving option, we need to come up with a more equitable approach to charging electric vehicle owners. This can’t feature time-based fees as it simply perpetuates a divide between drivers that share the same vision to move towards more sustainable fuel technology. Why should anyone be penalised for that?

 

Tips For After An Accident and some Funny Insurance Claims

Most people wouldn’t expect to be involved in a car accident.  There are some driving habits which some drivers do have, illegal or otherwise, that would definitely make them more prone to having an accident.  With all the modern crash-avoidance safety equipment on-board new cars crashes still happen – whether it’s your fault or someone else’s.

So, what should you do after an accident has happened?  Here are some safe procedures you can make a note of:

  • Stop the car.
  • Turn off the engine.
  • Switch the hazard lights on.
  • Check for any injuries to yourself or your passengers.
  • Call the police and an ambulance immediately if anyone is hurt or if the road is blocked.
  • Share your name and address with everyone involved if the accident caused damage or injury.
  • Swap insurance information and details with the other driver(s).
  • Take down details of any other passengers and witnesses to the accident.
  • Try to find out if the other driver is the registered owner of the vehicle, and if they are not find out who the owner of the car is and get that information too.
  • Record the make, model, colour, and number plate of the vehicles involved in the accident or take pictures of them.
  • Record the time and date of the crash.
  • Record the driving conditions, including the weather, lighting, and road quality (such as road markings, whether it’s wet or muddy, repair of the road surface).
  • Record what sort of damage was caused to the vehicles and where. Use your phone to take pictures of the scene and the damage to the cars.
  • Record any injuries to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.
  • Record the names and contact details of any witnesses.
  • Phone your insurance company as soon as possible – ideally at the time of the accident.

After the accident, submitting a claim for car insurance can be a bit of a stressful business, and it certainly pays to double check what you have said over the phone or have written on your claim form.  Here are some genuinely funny car insurance claim statements below:

  • A pedestrian hit me and went under my car
  • As I approached an intersection a sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before.
  • Going to work at 7am this morning I drove out of my drive straight into a bus. The bus was 5 minutes early.
  • I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way
  • I had been driving for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel.
  • In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
  • I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going the opposite way.
  • I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection a hedge sprang up obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car.
  • I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.
  • I saw her look at me twice. She appeared to be making slow progress when we met on impact.
  • I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought.
  • I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.
  • I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
  • My car was legally parked as it backed into another vehicle.
  • No one was to blame for the accident but it would never have happened if the other driver had been alert.
  • The claimant had collided with a cow. The questions and answers on the claim form were – Q: What warning was given by you? A: Horn. Q: What warning was given by the other party? A: Moo.
  • The accident happened because I had one eye on the lorry in front, one eye on the pedestrian and the other on the car behind.
  • The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the other vehicle.
  • The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
  • The pedestrian had no idea which way to run as I ran over him.
  • The pedestrian ran for the pavement, but I got him.

Rubber And Tarmac: Driving Roads to Enjoy.

Along with owning a house, going on a great drive has to be one of the great Aussie dreams. But, much like the pub discussion over which sci-fi franchise is best or is AFL better than NRL, the best Australian roads to drive can be a subjective list. Here’s five, both classic and perhaps a surprise or two, worthy of consideration.

1. The Great Ocean Road, Victoria.

Known for a combination of long sweeping corners, spectacular views, and holiday traffic, the Great Ocean Road, all 244 kilometres of it, is a walk up start. Commencing at Torquay, the home of the legendary Bells Beach surf classic, head west and passing the stunning Cape Otway lighthouse, taking in the remaining pillars of The Twelve Apostles, and terminating near the picturesque seaside town of Warrnambool, this is regarded as one of the world great drives.

2. Caves Road, Western Australia.

Western Australia is home to the world’s most isolated capital city, Perth, and a world renowned wine region in the south. Margaret River is truly one of the country’s loveliest areas and is a lazy three or so hour drive south of the city.

Caves Road runs north/south in the state’s far south west, between the historic seaside town of Busselton (with its kilometer long jetty) and the peaceful village ambience of Augusta. It provides easy access to the stunning coastline, the friendly towns, and of course, the fabulous wine region.

3. Brown Mountain, NSW.

Although short in distance, at between ten to fifteen kilometers in length, this is a road that will bring a knowing smile to those that have driven it. Located west of Australia’s cheese capital, Bega, Brown Mountain itself is the highest peak in the Monaro region at 1243 metres above sea level. There’s Cooma, the gateway to the northern snowfields, and the Snowy Mountain Highway that winds its way across the stark landscape, a drive in itself. There’s a sudden change from plains and cleared land to forest before the sharp descent to almost sea level down this tricky, tight, yet offering vast views east, road. This one hit the news recently after heavy rain washed two huge boulders onto the road, blocking access for a couple of days. Explosives had to be used to get the boulders out of the way.

4. Border Range Loop, Queensland.

Picking one from Queensland is, like all other states and territories, a hard one. But perhaps for sheer value, the Border Range Loop drive, that takes in 530 kilometres of beautiful roads and views southwest of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, is the choice.

Stretching over a recommended three day drive, there’s plenty to see on the road to the Queen Mary Falls near Killarney. There’s the ranges that are home to Mount Tamborine as well, a view not to be missed.

5. Uluru, The N.T.

Why this one? Simple. Who could pass up the opportunity to drive through Australia’s fabled outback towards The Red Heart of this magnificent area, and see the imposing monolithic red rock rising majestically out of the plains ahead. Stretch the view a little and there’s the incredible jumble of The Olgas, or Kata Tjuta, glowing various shades of red and orange, just forty kilometers further on from the wonder that is Uluru.

Tell us your favourite driving road and let us know on in our comments section.

Holden On To The Memory.

February 17, 2020. It’s the day after a very successful fund raising concert for Australia’s beleaguered fire fighting services. The country is on a high. Midday and the high is replaced by a collective sense of disbelief. It’s the day that many prophesied yet even more hoped would never come.

The name, Holden, would be consigned to the bin of history.

There will be many discussions as the reason why the once near invincible powerhouse that was “Australia’s own”, the company immortalised in a jingle along with “football, meat pies, kangaroos”, finally met its end at the hands of parent company General Motors. In simple terms, there will never be just one reason, there will be many.

If Holden’s last manager, Kristian Aquilina, to be is to believed, the company didn’t go down without some sort of a fight. “In this investment cycle, we developed an ambitious investment – an investment proposal to turn around our current performance and to see Holden flourish in this market, not just survive,” Aquilina stated.

“And over a number of months, GM undertook an exhaustive analysis of that plan together with our parent company we chased down every conceivable option, every strategy, every plan… We looked under every rock.

“We have had multiple rounds of discussions and have tried to find a way to defy gravity but the hard truth was there was just no way to come up with a plan that would support a competitive, and growing and flourishing Holden – and also provide a sufficient return to our investors.” he said. GM’s International Operations vice president Julian Blissett wasn’t willing to detail the costs involved, instead settling on a package to move the remaining Holden stock and close dealerships. The estimated cost is somewhere around $1.1 billion.

The closure also, sadly, includes the fabled Lang Lang proving grounds in the western part of Victoria. It’s rumoured that transport magnate Lindsay Fox has expressed interest in investing in the site. The anger that so many are feeling is inclusive of the statement by Holden after the closure of local building that Lang Lang and its importance would stay in place.

GM has also flagged the closure of its Thailand based manufacturing facility. However, a saviour for that plant in the form of Great Wall Motors may save the plant and its employees. Should this go ahead it places Great Wall into the same manufacturing heartbeat as brands such as Toyota, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, and others.Holden’s own history has places where its innovation could, could have gone further. The homegrown 5.0L, the famous 308, was being worked on for an overhead camshaft design. This “mule” engine kept the standard centre of block cam, meaning it was a three cam engine, unique at the time. Concept cars such as ECOmmodore, the W427, the Crewman and its HSV sibling, the Avalanche, were all possibilities for ongoing. Our friends at Bauer Media go further, with this list of concepts.

Holden has committed to the next ten years for customer support, a statement that some, cynically, will equate to Holden’s advertising of “We’re here to stay”, when clearly they aren’t.

It’s a day, and a decision, that for many will remain as a stain on the once thriving heart of Australian automotive manufacturing.

It’s Time for more Transparency with Vehicle Reliability Data

Local car manufacturers have long been reluctant to release information about vehicle reliability, just as they were with repair data until recent developments prompted a change. While said changes are a promising sign for motorists, it’s about time something was done when it comes to vehicle reliability data. The current standards and practices just aren’t good enough. Your new vehicle is likely to be the second largest individual purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. No one wants to end up with a ‘lemon’, so it follows that manufacturers should be more open when it comes to publishing information about vehicle reliability. That is, if they genuinely value their customers loyalty.

Source: Confused.com

What’s happening right now?

From an owner’s perspective, having full and complete information is invaluable when engaging in a decision making process. It’snecessary in order to filter out options that do not align with our needs. This is something that has been recognised abroad. From the US to the UK and other parts of Europe and Asia, industry surveys with motorists surrounding vehicle reliability are common practice and the results are published for all to see.

In turn, this ensures manufacturers not only receive feedback but are compelled to embrace it – to act upon it and improve their vehicles. Tesla, one of the industry’s most-recent entrants to the motoring space, has been one of the most prominent stakeholders in accepting feedback and it goes some way to explain why their growth has been off the charts as it becomes the most-expensive, publicly-listed car brand in the world.  The company is one of the first to admit they have had several notable problems with their ‘high end’ vehicles, however, their approach is all about finding the right solution(s) to improve motorists’ driving experiences.

In Australia, only half the feedback cycle is being undertaken. Motorists are often surveyed for their thoughts on vehicle reliability, but the results are rarely if ever made public. In fact, it’s hard to know in what way this information is being used given its guarded nature. That being said, it’s widely accepted that mechanical issues have improved some way in recent years – even if we are seeing an abundance of recalls that never seem to stop – but it has generally been the car companies with global reach, under pressure from research in other territories, that ongst the frontrunners in terms of reliability.

Source: Rac.com

What’s the other side of the equation?

If there is one thing to recognise in defence of manufacturers, the human mechanics of operating a vehicle cannot always be recorded. That is, whether a driver has adequately maintained their vehicle, followed through with appropriate servicing, and ultimately how they drive their car. Now you’re probably saying these things shouldn’t matter. And they shouldn’t. But for the purpose of a direct comparison between cars and manufacturers, it’s hard to compare the likes of a HSV driven by a P-plater, with a Toyota Camry driven by a retiree.

The other element to consider is that reliability data is only one piece of the puzzle. The type of failure, as well as the cost of repairs, should also be considered. One might expect that ‘luxury’ vehicles encounter fewer reliability issues, however, if each time this vehicle requires repairs that cost three times that of a ‘regular’ sedan, what are the results really demonstrating? Furthermore, with the majority of problems these days encompassing technology problems, can these issues be compared on the same scale as that of vehicles with mechanical problems?

Nonetheless, these points shouldn’t really take away from the point that we need further disclosure around vehicle reliability. The introduction of ‘lemon laws’ in recent time is certainly beneficial, but that’s a reactive response when buyers deserve more up-front information and certainty. In fact, manufacturers owe it to motorists, particularly if they are in search of brand loyalty and a vision to improve future cars.

Sales Down, Safety Up, Toll Up.

Australians are renowned for being up there in regards to take-up of technology. We expect our cars to come with the latest and greatest when it comes to audio, comfort, and importantly, safety. Items like airbags are commonplace, with even the driver’s workspace seeing more and more of a “kneebag”. Traction control has been in our cars for what feels like forever as has ABS, or anti-lock braking system. Nowadays we see letters such as RCTA, or BSW/BSA as part of a standard safety package, and more and more common is variations on AEB. By the way, that’s Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Warning/Alert, and Autonomous Emergency Braking.

Regardless of all of these and with new car sales (with better safety equipment) consistently exceeding a million in recent years, the Australian road toll increased in 2019. 1182 people lost their lives in 2019, 47 up on the previous year. NSW saw 352, just six more than 2018 and in spite of the extra “safety” measures taken by a government desperately seeking “Towards Zero”. Given the focus on people dying from holding a mobile phone or speeding, and with over 100,000 people pinged in a six month mobile phone camera trial, and a potential removal of signage for mobile and fixed speed cameras, “Towards Zero” has more to do with the few idiots that commit such atrocities or think tailgating is a great game than the numbers reflect.

By the way, the mobile phone trial amnesty has finished and people caught will now get a fine of $344 and a more realistic but still potentially misguided five demerit points. This is in spite of statistics finding mobile phone distractions in crashes accounting for under one percent of causes.

 

Victoria, in spite of the razor thin tolerances their speed cameras have, went from 213 to 263 in 2019. In context, as of June 2019 Victoria had a population of 6,594,804. South and Western Australia had increases, with S.A. 6 and W.A. 33 to record 113 and 164 respectively. In opposition to that, Queensland, the N.T., Tasmania and the A.C.T. went backwards in their tolls. Queensland dropped by 28 to 217, with just 35 in “the Territory”, whilst the island state had 32. The capital territory? Just 6.

Car sales in 2019 were at the lowest since 2011 but still cracked the million mark. VFACTS said 1,062,867 new vehicles were sold in 2019. Bear in mind that the safety factors in cars is increasing, yet the human element, ignorance and stupidity, cannot be dialled out.

In stark contrast to the road toll is the sharp increase in hospitalisations. Victorian hospitalisations from a result of traffic crashes have risen 38 percent between 2013 and 2019. In the same period the road toll fell 12.3 percent. Australia’s federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, says that over the last ten years the toll has fallen whilst road injuries have increased. 2016’s rate of hospitalised injuries per 100,000 people was 35 times the fatality rate. Traffic crashes are the second highest cause of hospitalisations in Australia, accounting for 12 percent, behind falls (41 percent). The 38,945 hospitalisations across the country in 2016 represent a nominal increase of 3.6 percent each year since 2015.

8636 hospitalisations occurred as a result of traffic incidents in 2018, compared to 213 fatalities. Six years before the numbers were 6252 and 243. Nationally in 2018 two thirds of fatalities were in regional areas, with two thirds of hospitalisations coming from urban crashes. The reasons for the disparity are unclear, however it could be postulated that as cars become safer and people feel that their driving standards, or lack of them, will be mitigated by the vehicle safety packages, more trust, as such in items such as AEB and airbags as driving standards lower will see more crashes resulting in people being sent to hospital.

The Rise of On-Demand Technology Services

In a sign of the changing times, motorists are set to increasingly have the option to pay for certain technology features and services on a month-to-month basis rather than being slugged a one-off cost at the time of purchase.

Subscription-based car applications are being rolled out by some of the market’s leading manufacturers. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the two platforms in the spotlight, however, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover are among those who have already backflipped on their decision to impose annual subscription plans for Apple CarPlay.

Following the changes, it means Apple CarPlay will be a free service for new BMW and Jaguar Land Rover vehicles equipped to handle the technology, just like more affordable manufacturers Kia and Hyundai have already offered drivers.

However, that doesn’t mean drivers can expect to avoid being slugged fees for using specific technology services. It is still expected that this will be the strategy adopted by manufacturers going forward, whereby things like entertainment, auto high beams, active cruise control could fall under a user-pays model.

 

 

Will drivers accept an on-demand services model?

While we have become accustomed to this type of model in many other parts of our day-to-day lives, including Netflix, food-preparation services and much more, it remains to be seen just how drivers will respond to this model for vehicle features. The pushback in response to BMW’s annual subscription-fees could be an indicator that drivers in today’s age are expecting more bang for their buck, especially at the premium end of the market.

In addition, as some features like active cruise control and auto high beams are extras at the time of purchase, drivers have long been able to negotiate themselves into acquiring ‘premium’ extras like this as part of their purchase, sometimes even as a freebie. Therefore, grouping these into a model where you have limited access, even if only charged when afforded that limited access, might work against the notion of value.

Ultimately, this early move may be one that forces customers to raise their guard when it comes to embracing on-demand services inside new cars. In theory it makes some sense that users only pay for things they want as they choose to embrace them, but at the same time, driving habits stay largely consistent over time. That is to say, it’s not easy to foresee an outcome where you decide one month that you could do with auto high beams and then suddenly not have a need for them the next month. And if you did go on to keep them, at what point does it become more expensive than it would have been to buy them outright in the first place, especially at a negotiated or bundled price?

How willing are you to pay for certain technology services on a subscription basis in your next car?

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Drug and Alcohol Detectors Could be in All Future New Cars

With the government already doing its best to regulate many parts of our lives, they may be just about to extend that one step further via drug and alcohol detectors in all future new cars.

Hot on the heels of speed limiters, which look set to become a standard item in the not too distant future, government officials are taking a liking to the guidelines set out by the United Nations for compulsory safety devices that should feature in all new cars.

Local interest comes as the European Union looks set to implement these guidelines as early as 2022. That’s right, in just a couple of years, drug and alcohol detectors may well become standard in every new car across Europe.

With the technology still under development, there is no ‘sure’ indication at this stage. However, with Australia often seen following in the footsteps of the international community for road safety practices, the odds are certainly pointing to a similar roll-out in Australia sooner or later.

 

Is there a societal dilemma?

Many motorists are likely to be shocked by the potential measure, with such requirements sure to draw the ire of those who value their driving flexibility and independence, without the state being required to intervene and tell them otherwise.

Sure, the intentions behind this sort of technology are positive. After all, as much as a quarter of all deaths on the road involve motorists under the influence of alcohol. No one is doubting the tragic circumstances that entail a vast proportion of road trauma connected to one form of illicit substance or another.

However, what is likely to be a point of consternation is the fact that law-abiding citizens will need to have the government effectively police them when they are already in control of their own actions.

 

 

How would the technology work?

Picturing the scene, by now you’re probably imagining some sort of breathalyser device that you would need to engage with every time you step into the car, right? Fortunately, the technology under development is expected to be far more sophisticated and ‘seamless’ than that.

It would rely on sensors affixed to the inside of the driver’s side door and on the steering wheel. These sensors, which would be configured to focus solely on the driver, would use infrared light to detect whether any ethanol or carbon dioxide is being picked up in the air from your breath.

But while this is the end goal, in the meantime, no one can say with any certainty that the government won’t instead opt for more ‘established’ technology in the form of those interlock systems, or sensor pads that assess the presence of illicit substances via ‘touch’.

But at the end of the day, with various pieces of technology under trial locally right now, it is looking less likely to be a case of if something will be done, and rather a case of when will the government intervene in our lives once again?