Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I was recently reading an article in the Age about in car DVD players, and how they are the new "threat" to vehicle safety. Drivers apparently will cause all sorts of accidents because of the distraction of seeing the kids in the car next to theirs watching Shrek. A spokesperson from the RACV makes the very sexist and perhaps brunette-ist comment that a driver may be just as distracted by the "blonde woman driving the car next to theirs", but you get the point, I'm not sure what makes a DVD player any more of a distraction than anything else.

This kind of links in with all the debate over the child bath seats, and the drownings. Only in that it is the same debate over how much we need to be protected from the blatently obvious. Of course parental supervision would have prevented the drownings, and I pity the poor parents have to live with that knowledge for the rest of their lives. But if the products were not fully safe then the manufacturers have a case to answer too. (Beth argues this very well)

However, as responsible adults, we can be warned about the dangers of things, and then there has to come a point when we take responsibilty for our actions. All this reminds me of that Winnebago story, where in the US a driver successfully sued Winnebago after putting the van on 'cruise control', and then leaving the controls to make himself a coffee. Cause they didn't warn him that the van doesn't drive itself when it is on cruise control.

Lets hope Australian law can escape this sort of frivolity (and the article I have linked to gives more examples too). Lets hope that Australians can take responsibilty for their own stupidity. Lets be glad that the driver behind me didn't run up my behind at the the lights the other day when I got distracted by the kids in the car next door watching Shrek on their DVD player. Ahem.


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