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As the pandemic keeps more people at home in 2020, Americans have driven less miles than usual. But more people died on the road.
Our roads are very dangerous, especially for pedestrians. I’m curious if adding technology to traffic law enforcement could help – or if it could make things worse.
I am reminded of this every time I see the reckless driving scene where I live in New York. (And there is some evidence that this is increasing.) Part of me wants cameras to be everywhere to detect drivers getting penalized for passing a red light or speeding. But I’m also wary of mass surveillance.
I spoke to this with Sarah Kaufman, associate director of the Rudin Center for Traffic Policy and Management at New York University. She said that, in the short term, more automated traffic enforcement could make our roads safer and reduce stops that could potentially be police bias towards drivers.
In the long run, however, Kaufman believes that the best technologies to make our roads safer are the technologies that everyone can choose from. That includes programmed vehicles to force people to obey the speed limit and brake when the lights are red.
Yes, she knows that some people will hate this. However, she said, we shouldn’t be complacent about deaths and injuries on American roads, and instead rethink what we consider normal about driving.
Let’s get back to the point: Cars have become safer for the insiders over the years, but last year the number of deaths on the road last year in the United States was still 42,000, according to preliminary figures from an advocacy group. This figure is higher than the number of deaths in 2019 and the number is not unusual. Risks have generally increased for pedestrians, motorcyclists, and others who are not inside the vehicle.
Kaufman has made a few points about the ways technology can make us safer, as well as some of its limitations.
First, getting a ticket by mail after the camera has captured the image of you speeding or passing a red light in your car can be a relatively effective deterrent, but it’s not perfect.
In New York and some other places, traffic tickets from the camera come about a month after the violation. Kaufman, who thinks the camera implementation might make someone rethink speeding next time. But, she says, it doesn’t prevent risky driving in the first place.
A New York Times Opinion column said last week that cameras recording footage of speeding drivers or expired license plate cards could also reduce police stops that tend to image. disproportionate enjoyment of black drivers, and sometimes violence and even death. (The encounter that resulted in a Minnesota police officer shooting and killing Daunte Wright began with a car stop.)
Black Americans are also at higher risk of dying from car crashes, and Kaufman says that more autonomous traffic enforcement could help solve what she calls two “over-control” problems. and unprotected ”.
However, Kaufman says that in the long run, the best road safety technologies are those that eliminate human judgment. She imagines many cities and carmakers setting up automated technologies that force drivers to obey the speed limit and brake at red lights.
Some cities require a speed limit to be integrated into scooters and rental e-bikes. “Why is there no speed limit on the most dangerous mode of travel?” Asked Kaufman.
Although she believes her proposal might cause some people to howl over the limitations of what they can do with their own cars, Kaufman says: “People are dying because some people don’t comply follow the rules. Why is that a fair system? “
It always worries me when technology is proposed as a solution to man-made problems. Some road safety advocates have pushed other non-tech-related changes, such as redesigned roads, tighter seat belts, safety rules, small cars and stay away from our car dependence. And yes, Kaufman and I talked about self-driving cars. They promise to be much safer but not likely to hit the road in large numbers for many years.
Finally, from Kaufman’s point of view, it is necessary to both limit what we can do with the car and rethink the role the car plays in American life.
Tips of the week
Why is your Wi-Fi slow? Try this one.
Have you whimpered and cursed at your puppy’s internet connection at home? I have. Brian X. ChenThe New York Times consumer technology columnist tells us how to determine the cause of that slooooow connection.
Netflix movies take a long time to load. Your video calls look grainy and the audio is garbled. Even browsing the web feels sluggish.
You will have to determine the cause of the problem. Is it your router or your internet service provider?
Here is one method to help figure that out:
Download an internet speed test app on your phone, such as Ookla’s Speedtest (free for iPhones and Android phones).
Stand close to your router and use the application to run a speed test.
Move to a room further away from the router and run the speed test again.
Compare the results.
The test result below 15 megabits per second is quite slow. A speed of about 25 megabits per second is sufficient for high definition video streaming; more than 40 megabits per second is ideal for streaming multiple videos and playing video games.
If the fast speed test results are near your Wi-Fi router but slower is far away, it is possible the problem is your router. If the speeds were slow in both test locations, the problem might be with your internet provider.
Once you’ve identified the problem correctly, visit my column on slow internet speeds to find out about solutions.
Before we go …
TikTok’s popularity mysteries: Those who don’t get a chance can go viral with a thrilling TikTok video, such as a scene of a quirky dog or a man skateboarding with cranberry juice. But The Wall Street Journal writes that some users say it is difficult to replicate TikTok’s success.
How the pandemic changed book sales: People are buying more books in 2020 through mass retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, where people tend to browse less and buy more titles by authors and celebrities. “We sell pretty predictable stuff online,” an executive at Barnes & Noble told my colleagues Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris.
Fun fact: About 10 percent of all web searches have some error or spelling. A writer on BuzzFeed News tries to figure out why she’s typing poorly and delves into technology that keeps us from making mistakes, including autofill on our phones and Google tries try to understand our spelling mistakes.
See these The duckling jumps from the dock into the water. Some of them are not very graceful, but all of them are lovely.
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