Those annoying car door-lock systems ought to drive off

Car key in door lock

I like technology as much as the next guy. I mean, what's not to like?

There are systems that buzz when you drift out of your lane, beep when you are about to back into something and startle you when you are nodding off.

They apply the brakes to straighten you out when you skid out of control. They let you change the radio station by voice command and warn you when your tires lose pressure.

I don't have a beef with any of that. Some systems are government-mandated, inflating purchase prices, but how can you argue with stability control, no matter the cost?

All technology, however, isn't necessarily good.

I've been around long enough to remember when the National Highway Traffic Administration got the bright idea to mandate putting electronics in place to prevent a car from starting unless front-seat passengers fastened their seat belts.

No doubt, it looked good on paper. But it added to the cost of cars, and drivers would just buckle the belt and sit on it. Those with a little electrical know-how would simply pull the fuse or clip a wire or two.

Hmmm, who didn't see that coming? Ummm ... bureaucrats?

Some current gizmos I put in the same category with those annoying seat-belt interlock systems are door-lock systems that automatically lock all the car doors when the vehicle is shifted into drive or reaches a certain speed, but then don't automatically unlock them when the shift lever is returned to park.

I have voiced this complaint and been told that it prevents kids from throwing open the doors and running into traffic as soon as the vehicle stops. My response: Isn't that what child locks are for?

I have had scores of cars with auto-lock systems. After several episodes of almost ripping my fingertips off as I piled out the driver's door, which often does automatically unlock, and tried to open the locked rear door to get groceries or my gym bag, I am ready to club a baby seal.

This week, I am driving an Acura RDX. It has one of those confounded auto-lock systems, but it offers a way to shut it off. Every manufacturer should do likewise.

Auto-locks should go the way of the seat-belt interlock. Let me worry about my kids running into traffic. Oh yeah, I don't have any, but I'm still stuck with the system anyway.

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