We Were Promised Flying Cars

©. The House of the Future will have flying cars

And in Santa Ana, California, we got one. Meanwhile, in Ottawa, Canada, we learn that if you drive a BMW you are treated differently.

We are all having such a good time making fun of the people who drove too fast, hit a curb and went airborne, landing in the second floor of a dental office. We wondered why the building wasn't wearing high-viz, a helmet or as my favorite tweet noted,

This one got in the news because it hit the second floor, but in fact, these kinds of crashes are very common. According to an insurance company source, an "average of 60 cars crashes into retail stores, office buildings, and restaurants every day, killing over 500 people a year." According to the Sacramento Bee,

The white sedan was speeding when it hit the center median on French Street near 17th Street, causing the car to fly into the air and into the second storey of a nearby dental office, according to a Santa Ana Police Department Nixle notification. “The driver, who admitted to using narcotics, will be admitted to a local hospital for observation,” police said.

None of the other news sources mention the speeding. Because really, in North America, speeding is not a very big deal.

Just last week, the driver who killed Kouchi Matsumoto in Ottawa was acquitted of all charges. He was going twice the speed recommended for an off-ramp of the highway when he hit the 70-year-old Hiroshima survivor. "Suranjan Arasaratnam, 34, lost control of his black BMW drifted across two lanes, jumped the median and collided head-on with the Hyundai Accent driven by Kouchi Matsumoto, who was killed instantly. His wife, Lynda, was seriously injured."

Strangely, the judge is quoted in the Ottawa Citizen:

“I conclude that Mr. Arasaratnam failed to negotiate the end of the off-ramp as a result of both going too fast and misjudging the curb or by some other inadvertence. He did not, however, drive in a manner that was dangerous to the public,” the judge ruled. The judge said there was no evidence that Arasaratnam showed a wanton or reckless disregard for safety of others.

But wait, it gets worse, The police officer doing the reconstruction concluded that the driver Arasaratnam was going twice the recommended speed.

But under cross-examination by defence lawyer Lorne Goldstein, Fong admitted that he was actually unable to conclude that the BMW exceeded the range for critical curve speed of the off-ramp. The officer also admitted that the accused’s minimum approximate speed on the off-ramp was 61 km/h, rather than 88 km/h. The police officer also admitted under cross-examination that his calculations were generic and did not take into account the differences between, say, a minivan and the BMW 300 Series in question.

So in other words, if you are driving a fancy BMW, the car might well be capable of handling the curve at higher speed, so, therefore, it's not criminal. A different standard is applied.

The judge, who called the case “very sad and tragic”, then addressed the accused, saying he was sorry for him, too. “You are responsible for the death of Kouchi Matsumoto, but not criminally responsible for his death. I am also very sorry for you sir. You will have to live with that for the rest of your life,” Labrosse said in his late December decision.

This is insane. From Santa Ana to Ottawa, it is time to do something about speeding. It is probably time to do something about BMWs which appear to be particularly dangerous cars, showing up in the great majority of our stories about people being killed by speeding cars. Is there something wrong with them?