Our cars have become extensions of our homes.
Our cars have become extensions of our homes. Chris Ison ROK021116cdrive2

Why spying on drivers is a good thing

I READ with great interest last week of long-overdue plans to start monitoring smartphone use by drivers.

Apparently the technology already exists that will allow authorities to see just exactly what people do in their cars when they are behind the wheel, other than just drive.

I can tell you already what people do, without the need for cameras on every pole.

They do everything they do at home, with the possible exception of mowing the lawn, because to most people, a car is simply an extension of that home. It's a hurtling capsule in which they eat, drink, apply makeup, text friends and, unfortunately, pick their noses (eeuw), all while driving at speed (sometimes even while on speed, apparently).

No longer do kids play I Spy or Spotto out the window on a long trip; instead they have DVD players to occupy them. Now, I'm not saying that a spot of Finding Nemo in the family car is necessarily a bad thing.

When I was a kid, the trip from Sydney to Port Macquarie where we holidayed annually took about, oh, I dunno, a thousand hours.

There were only so many yellow Volkswagens you could spot - although, really, I couldn't imagine playing that now when every car looks the same and you can own any colour you want as long as it's black, white silver or red.

The truth is, there are way too many cars on the road. Our family of five owned two cars, and only because we had a farm and one of them was a paddock-basher ute.

Now every adult kid who still lives at home (seemingly the majority) has their own vehicle. Half the houses in our street have five-plus cars parked in the driveway or on the street.

The local holiday lettings have up to eight vehicles per address - some with boats attached - as the temporary tenants spread the nightly tariff among as many friends as possible; apparently none of them have heard of car pooling.

Put all that traffic on the road and add drivers who can't leave their smartphones alone for 30 minutes and you have a recipe for disaster.

Why we don't have software that automatically renders phones inactive when they're connected to a car's Bluetooth is beyond me; the technology exists. Apple has such a thing but you have to opt in rather than it being mandatory.

So spying cameras can only be a good thing; if they can issue fines to drivers poking fingers up their noses at traffic lights, I'm down with that.

People, we can see you!