Another car incident

So, sometime over the last 36 hours, someone saw fit to drive into my car and injure her in exactly the same spot she had been hit last time, way back in…last month. It seems that it happened in the private lot at the rear of my apartment, which only a certain number of people use, in addition to various snow removal contractor equipment. The damage doesn’t seem as severe, but of course, there’s no note or phone call, or “oh, sorry dude, did I just cause that giant gash in your car?”. Maybe they were too busy on their cellphone at the time to apply some level of concentration to the task of driving a heavy vehicle.

I first noticed this when driving Katherine somewhere and my car was making a crunching sound (from the wheel impacting the panel at the rear) as we hit rough parts of the road. I thought it was snow stuck in the wheel well, but sadly found after stopping that someone had swiped the panel above the wheel with some kind of heavy machinery. After some prodding, a contractor seems very willing to accept liability, in the kind of way that comes with a realization that you’re responsible for something you should have owned up to properly before. But we’ll see. Maybe they’ll cover the loss, or maybe my insurance will ding me again for another $500 deductible. Because I just love paying those. Oh yes.

Unlike too many other MA drivers, I enjoy taking care of my car, and following the rules of the road (Chapter 90, M.G.L,, and others) to the absolute letter of the law. I signal, observe proper breaking distances, check my rear view mirror every time I adjust my speed or location, and I constantly assess every other driver for risk assessment of stupidity. Yet, with all of the care and attention, I am no match for the stupidity and incompetence that I see on the roads all around me every single day. People don’t signal, they don’t look, they text and drive, they eat and drive, they text, eat, and drive while on their cell phone. They don’t think “gee, I’m driving a 2 ton killing machine that has actual safety consequences”. It’s just disgusting, and it’s no wonder some people give up owning cars or go off driving them. It’s like there’s a reward for the lowest possible driving standard, and it doesn’t matter if you whack into someone in a parking lot either, because it’s assumed everyone likes dings and dents (those being so common people have given up realizing they are neither inevitable nor necessary consequences of car ownership).

Photo: Proposed MX-5 Carputer design

I’m not taking this problem lying down. I’m going to write to the governor, requesting that some actual sanity be restored in this state’s driving regulation, and enforcement thereof, and I’ve a particularly nasty patent idea for an automated means to deal with bad MA drivers (I’m filing that one privately). Meanwhile, I’m going to install a (temporary) wireless night vision camera to monitor my car while I wait for time to build out a complete solution. That will involve installing front and rear “back up” cameras on the license plates, and other cameras, attached to a BeagleBoard installed in the car with a 3G radio. I need live, streaming video of everything that happens, from every angle, complete with location data. I want it so well done that the next person who hits me and fails to do the decent thing will regret it in court. Because if people don’t understand how to drive, they hopefully do understand being sued. That seems to work a lot better in the US sometimes, and if threat of legal action is the only way to get through to some people, then so be it. So, so done with crappy drivers.


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