Why can’t we hail the driverless car?

A reader says Goggle's driver-less cars won't be worse than Abu Dhabi's human operated ones. Other topics: driving, labourers, Obama, eating disorder
A reader says despite scepticism, Google’s self-driving car won’t be worse than Abu Dhabi’s human-operated ones. EPA
A reader says despite scepticism, Google’s self-driving car won’t be worse than Abu Dhabi’s human-operated ones. EPA

I refer to Google’s quirky self-driving car won’t have a steering wheel (May 28). You can’t stop progress, I guess, and in this case all you can do is dive for cover when this robo-car comes down the road. Ask yourself “what could possibly go wrong?” and you’ll be listing the answers for days.

I know, I know, people have been and are sceptical about most innovations, including the first (human-operated) “horseless carriages”. But still, I’ll let lots of other people be passengers in these gadgets before I try riding in one.

On the other hand, can computers really be worse than Abu Dhabi drivers?

Brian Kappler, Canada

Punishment only way to change driver behaviour

This refers to your editorial Education and visible policing are key to road safety (May 27). No amount of education can cure this as it’s clearly a behavioural problem that needs to be cured. There is only one mechanism: progressive taxation.

People in the high-risk categories, such as drivers of public transport, chauffeurs and those who drive corporate vehicles, should get slapped with the highest fines if they break the rules. With regard to individuals, this should be based on the black points accrued and number of fines. This is the only logical mechanism that would work, given the diverse background of road users here.

Assad Dualeh, Dubai

It’s small wonder that there are so many accidents on the road, when the so-called “safest” taxi driver declares that he always stays “two metres” behind the car in front (Taxi drivers insist their bad reputation is not warranted, May 26).

Drivers here don’t seem to realise that two metres is fine if you’re nearly stationary, but that gap has to increase more and more the faster you go to maintain stopping distance. Counting two seconds between cars is a much safer calculation. If you can count two full seconds from when the vehicle in front passes a point in the road until you pass, your stopping distance will be sufficient. That is, until a driver cuts in and halves the stopping distance. If they do that, you have to drop back further and not accelerate to close the gap.

Name withheld by request

Labourers need our sympathy

I read with great anguish the headline of the article Our grief, debt and shattered dreams (May 28). The article sent shivers down my spine. It is painful to read how poor people die such horrible deaths and no or meagre compensation is paid.

Who will pay for the repatriation of the corpses to their homeland? Will their full month’s salary be given to their families? Will a senior- or middle-management employee be treated in the same manner under similar circumstances?

Recently a reader urged that workers not be allowed to rest under trees at noon. How much will it cost to send a worker to his accommodation to have an hour’s rest?

The day before, I had to travel in my car with windows open because the air-conditioner was not working. It was like sitting in front of a furnace. God has put compassion in our hearts. We should not allow greed and cruelty to overrule us.

Ibrahim, Abu Dhabi

Obama has left all disappointed

As Barack Obama revisits American foreign policy, his presidency has ensured there will never be another such incumbent within our lifetime.

On January 20, 2009, the world rejoiced at the election of an American president from an ethnic minority. Millions around the world cried in jubilation at the promise of a new world order directed by an American president who would be cognisant, proactive and sympathetic to the plight of those forced to live under the threat of violence of terrorism and oppressive regimes.

Now five years on, we live instead in a world under increasing threat of global war as weapons of mass destruction have proliferated under the watch of this US administration, particularly in the Middle East.

Contemporaneously, Washington has ensured that the United Nations is turned into a creature organisation of the US Congress, one that is routinely prevented from carrying out its vital role as the global representative body by the consistently irresponsible use of the US veto in the Security Council.

Anthony Bellchambers, UK

Eating disorder lacks awareness

The editorial on binge eating disorder was enlightening (Eating disorders can be overcome, May 25). After reading it I realised that someone I know might be having that problem. I often found her behaviour strange, never realising that it could be a medical condition.

I do not know how many people suffer from this disorder, but I am sure that it is often overlooked and ignored. I am happy to know that Overeaters Anonymous is trying to raise awareness about it. The group needs publicity, too, as it is these groups that can give hope to many people.

Nina Nagpal, US

Published: May 29, 2014 04:00 AM


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