If you’re reading this blog in Canada, you may have already been part of a new road-going experiment. But for the rest of you, let me set up a scenario: You’re tooling along in your aging family sedan, a bit late and pushing the speed limits, when out of nowhere a little girl darts in front of you, chasing her ball into the street. Your heart jumps up in your throat, you slam on the brakes and … the little girl fades away.
No, that’s not a tale of space aliens tormenting our friends to the north with evil mind tricks. It’s a new government safety program.
In hopes of curbing speeding problems, two Canadian safety organizations have teamed up and installed a $15,000 3-D image device near an elementary school in West Vancouver, Canada, that will conjure up the ball-chasing tyke when drivers are about 100 feet away.
“We need to expect the unexpected because anything could happen, whether it is a 3-D image on the road … or whether it’s a live child or a dog running in front of the car, these are all things that we have to be able to control for in a vehicle,” said David Dunne of the British Columbia Automobile Association Traffic Safety Foundation in a The Globe and Mail article.
Now, when I read about this, my first thought was: What?! Doesn’t this sound as if it’s been poorly thought through? I’m sorry, my Canadian brothers, but hasn’t anybody ever heard of speed bumps or just parking an empty police car nearby? It seems that this plan, done in the name of safety, could have some potentially dangerous ramifications:
•Somebody panics and swerves into a very real car, building or child.
•A joker starts purposely accelerating through the test area on a lark and actually causes an accident.
•Some poor old guy suffers a heart attack.
•A prankster fiddles with the program and causes a holographic gorilla to appear, on your car’s hood, snacking on a banana.
OK, that last one probably wouldn’t happen, but you get the gist.