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New Volvo "Safety" Feature Takes Distracted Driving to New Heights

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While some say using a cellphone behind the wheel is dangerously distracting, others say it's no worse than listening to the radio.

But that's something we can discuss another time.

Right now, Volvo is about to unleash something on the driving (and walking) public that will invariably lead to more accidents than any Bluetooth device ever dreamed of.

The Swedish car maker's crash-avoidance system known as City Safety uses sensors and cameras to "see" obstacles in the car's path and is supposed to automatically apply the brakes -- which doesn't always work:

That was from earlier this year. Fortunately, Volvo has since tweaked the system and it seems to be working flawlessly:

Or not. However, whether it works or not is almost beside the point. Ray Wert over at Jalopnik writes that "the system, in practice, could likely lead to drivers having an over-developed sense of confidence that they didn't need to be involved with the braking of the car in situations where a pedestrian runs out into traffic," and that it could lead to Volvo drivers being "falsely lulled into a sense of safety" and not pay enough attention to the road.

In fairness, Volvo's new technology did work nine times out of 12, when it was demonstrated for journalists in Italy last week.

To which Wert says, "That's still nine times where it will actually stop the car on its own. If confronted with a dummy named 'Bob.' In a controlled testing situation. In Italy. In the middle of a sunny afternoon."
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