Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Money rewarded for safe driving gap

Money is rewarded for safe gap between your car and the car in front, via onboard distance sensor
 
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We know that increasing the distance between your car and the car in front gives you more time to react to problems ahead and hence reduces your chances of having a collision, reduces your need to break and makes driving smoother. Therefore, how about putting a distance sensor (a laser, for example) on the front of the car, fed to a computer to measure the average distance over a period of time and speed, which then sends this figure to a central computer somewhere. This would then reward you with money when you keep a safe distance. You could check your account via the internet. The money rewarded would come from the money saved by hospitals and the emergency services. Money is the biggest motivator, so accidents would be reduced and lives saved!
Lill, Jun 02 2003

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       The effects are kind of cute... It would thus also reward you for driving at night rather than in daytime traffic. You could also earn money by you and a friend racing around a deserted block at 50 mph (at a safe distance from each other ^_^)   

       Also rewards patient drivers and compensates for road rage.   

       I don't think it should link *directly* to your bank account, though. Too much ability to malfunction. It should save the data to a floppy disk embedded in the car's electronics. A trained mechanic will be able to extract the disk, examine the data for authenticity, and perform the necessary financial transactions.
phundug, Jun 02 2003
  

       Could you not fool a detection system such as a laser by parking your car a "safe" distance from the garage wall with the drive wheels suspended, and leave the car to run for an hour or so each day?
kaz, Jun 02 2003
  

       Last time we did this, someone sensibly argued that being rewarded for *not* driving badly runs against the underlying priciples of most legal systems. It implies that not breaking laws is itself worthy of reward and the implications (I didn't rape anyone today, so I should get X dollars, e.g.) should make it clear that it's a nonsensical notion.
snarfyguy, Jun 02 2003
  

       Yeah, you could fool the system if it was simple. Maybe the onboard computer would be able to detect when it was being fooled. It would have to examine the distances and speeds for semi-random variation... Also I would imagine the reward size would be far less than the cost of running your car with the wheels suspended for an hour!
Lill, Jun 02 2003
  

       Yeah, good point snarfguy, but when it comes to saving people's lives, surely exceptions should be made? The way I see it, it's rewarding you for 'good' behaviour, not behaviour that is 'normal' or 'expected'.
Lill, Jun 02 2003
  

       I think society expects normal behavior to be good behavior. Wait 'till [waugsqueke] weighs in; he's good on this sort of stuff.
snarfyguy, Jun 02 2003
  

       Wouldn’t this cause folks to change lanes even more often? Say I’ve have a nice gap going -– someone in the other lane can make money by cutting in front of me.
  

       //money rewarded would come form the money saved by hospitals//

I didn’t know that hospitals had extra piles of cash lying around. I have heard of a fund that people contribute to, and you pay more, based on risk: “Insurance”. You save money by driving safely. In my opinion, that should be voluntary -– but damage someone else’s property, and you pay. Silly me.
Amos Kito, Jun 02 2003
  

       The hospital thing is simple:) Fewer patients in the accident and emergency ward equals less cost. Less cost equals money for other expenses. But do I like the idea of cheaper insurance premiums. The Honda idea is great. Even better would be a sharp metal spike on the steering wheel that protrudes as you get too close!!
Lill, Jun 02 2003
  

       Not sure how practical it is, but I like ideas that encourage people to do the right thing. As [snarfy] pointed out there are others who disagree with this concept.   

       But there's an old adage about the "carrot and the stick" when training a work animal. In many areas of public policy we have the stick, but no carrot. I see no problem in adding a carrot or two, but like anything else it comes down to who pays for the carrots.
krelnik, Jun 02 2003
  

       I am constantly amazed that this steering wheel death spike seems to be some kind of stereotype on the collective unconscious of the western world.
po, Jun 02 2003
  

       //reduces your need to break// break what? dance?
thumbwax, Jun 02 2003
  
      
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