The War on Car Radios

981bcarradios The War on Car Radios

Before today’s battles over cell phones and distracted driving,
there were battles over car radios and distracted driving. Matt
Novak (of Paleofuture
fame) describes the debate in the Pacific Standard:
In the early 1930s legislators in states like
Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Ohio all proposed
steep fines for drivers, while others imagined that making the
installation [of a car rado] a crime—since few automobiles came
with them pre-installed—would help keep drivers safe. In May of
1935 state legislators in Connecticut introduced a bill that would
have made the installation of radio into a car subject to a $50
fine, or about $825 adjusted for inflation. It didn’t
pass.
Naturally, industry pushed back:
In 1930 the former president of the Radio Manufacturers
Association, C.C. Colby, claimed that talking to people in the back
seat of the car posed a greater risk to public safety than the new
car radio: “Radio is not distracting because it demands no
attention from the driver and requires no answer, as does
conversation between the driver and passengers. Motor car radio is
tuned by ear without the driver taking his eyes off the road. It is
less disconcerting than the rear view mirror.”…

Instead, they said, radio might actually reduce the number of
collisions. Bond Geddes, executive vice president of the Radio
Manufacturers Association, said in 1935: “Since that time [when
auto radio first became popular] there has not been a single case
according to any information in our possession where an automobile
radio has been the cause of any major accident. Against this is the
almost unanimous opinion of operators of automobiles equipped with
radio that they tend to reduce speed and, therefore, are not a
source of danger but actually become a safety factor.”
Read the whole thing
here. Then prepare to relive the argument yet again when
drivers start wearing ;Google Glass.

Read this article:

The War on Car Radios


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