Unsafe Safety Message
Dumbest of the dumb
This little beauty popped up on my Chevy’s console as I was driving down the highway.
So we drivers are supposed to take our eyes off the road to read the message saying that taking one’s eyes off the road may result in horrible tragedy. Then we must take a hand off the wheel and hit “OK” to make the message disappear, or change languages to make the message comprehensible.
I left the message up to see if it would disappear automatically. Nope, it was there for the entire journey. Which, of course, forced me to fumble with my phone and create a more dangerous situation by capturing the image of the message.
How does something this stupid come to be?
One can look it up on Hyperbole Central. There, the recorded conversations between Chevy engineers and management are fully exposed. I’ve reproduced them here for your convenience.
“We have a potential problem here, Poindexter. There is a message center in our console, but we really don’t want people reading messages while driving.”
“No problem, Boss. I’ll disable the text readout when phones are Bluetooth connected.”
“That’s great, but it’s not enough. There are other internally generated messages that may pop up, and we have to make sure that our customers know they should not be distracted from driving by reading them.”
“Not sure what you’re getting at here, Boss. Isn’t that common sense? Shouldn’t anyone who has passed their extremely difficult driver’s test know that they need to keep their eyes on the road?”
“I’m just saying that we don’t want to be liable when some slow reader mouthing some text careens off the road instead of paying attention to driving.”
“Oh, I got it. You need a CYA message.”
“A ‘Cover Your Ass’ message. We can do that. The programmers can provide a popup screen warning people to keep their eyes on the road.”
“That’s great. And be sure they can change languages so they can read it, regardless of background.”
“Not a problem. We’ll include a button that allows language selection, which is otherwise buried in several levels of settings, so that they can go through the additional screens necessary to get to the text they understand. But I have a question.”
“Should we disable the message while the vehicle is moving?”
“No can do. Gotta make sure they read it. Otherwise, the personal injury lawyers will claim we didn’t provide adequate notification.”
“Brilliant! I’ll get right on it.”