Illustration for article titled Heres iThe Detroit News/i Auto Writers Reaction To NHTSAs Camera Rule

Look, we all have concerns about too much tech going into our cars, but there are ways of getting that message across without attempting to make hilarious light of the deaths of small children. This cartoon from The Detroit News misses the mark completely.

I think the last time I picked up a paper copy of The Detroit News was when I interned there nine years ago, so I had no idea that staff cartoonist Henry Payne was still doing cartoons on the editorial page. The News — which may or may not be hitting the auction blockin the next few months — announced in splashy fashion that Payne had been moved over to the auto desk to replace the late Doug Guthrie, so I'd assumed his cartoonist duties had been relieved.


Apparently not. Payne turned this cartoon in last week after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated that all cars manufactured in 2018 and beyond be equipped with rear-view cameras. I wasn't fully on board with the mandate when I blogged about it on Jalopnik's front page because my argument was that people would come to rely on the camera rather than looking outside their windshield.

What I didn't do was make fun of the 210 people who die every year as a result of backover accidents. To suggest that cars have Nerf-ball wheels and other ridiculous add-ons "so you don't back over your 2-year-old" is a slap in the face to even the safest drivers who have been involved in tragic accidents.

You hear it all the time — the grandparent who stepped out to the store, assuming their grandchild was still in the house with adults only to find out they snuck out to play in the driveway. The guy running late to work and pulling out so fast he didn't see the kid on the tricycle riding by. Yes, sometimes we're a nation of lazy wonks who don't care what's behind us at the Walmart parking lot, but chances are most backover accidents weren't at the hands of someone that careless.

Take aim at NHTSA if you must criticize, but not the people who mean well.

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