First of all, over 80% of ALL accidents are caused by driver inattention of some degree. This does include drunks, who understandably have concentration problems. And a phone conversation is quite distracting no matter how the link is made. It has very little to do with holding the phone, although dialing is a different case. The problem is that more distractions are being provided, and using them takes thought away from driving. Some controls are a lot more distracting than others, but it is the attention taken away from driving that is the problem. No effective laws will be passed because there is just too much money to be made selling all of these distractions, which the marketing people have convinced the masses that they "really need". And unfortunately money talks loud enough to make lawmakers listen. That much money talks far louder than safety concerns and loss of life. So until adding all of the distractions becomes unprofitable there is no way to get rid of them.
Sparky, for me, the allure is on long trips (although Bob Dobkin at Linear has a BMW that makes bumper-to-bumper traffic less stressful because it drives itself)... You're driving from LA east or SF to LA or NY to Boston or NY to Florida and there are vast stretches of interstate on which you should be able to just surrender control and relax.
Driving through some mountains or windy roads would be another story. That's where driving is a blast.
You must be talking about the "legal" speed instituted during the peanut farmer's reign. The average car back then was was much more powerful (more V-8s on the road).
I remember back when tooling along at 80+ was acceptable in many areas of the country. Especially on Ike's new roads!
BTW - I was a very young passenger.
well, I think that if your car is so boring to drive, you can't be bothered...take the bus! I have been flying a lot this year and have seen the Ford-Lincoln MKZ-X ads a hundred times and they're trying to market this whizzy car system to completely non-technical people and I never see them really using this 'driving system.' but is is way too complicated and suffers the touchscreen shortcomings: 'I can call all functions with one button'...it has been Controls work better in communicating vehicle status and control...doesn't anyone stay awake in class anymore?! me? I don't need all the computer junk in my car...that Motorola 8-track player was enough complication!
In addition, cars were a lot bigger and while Force equals Mass times Acceleration, vehicles by virtue of their metal and size had some protective qualities as well.
And by the by, without dating myself too much, I remember those seatbelt-less days when certain adults had a drink in hand as we tooled merrily down the road. (Mad Men is wonderful for stirring those recollections!)
I don't think we'll really be safe on the roads until cars drive themselves. On the other hand, at least we don't drink and drive as much anymore... I was watching MadMen the other week and it's crazy to see people driving around taking swigs out of whiskey bottles on the road. Then again, cars weren't as fast back then