November/December 1994, p.11

World Traffic Report

Psycho on Wheels
Steven Fink had a cool idea: Why not make fearful drivers feel safer by providing them with an inflatable dummy to accompany them on the road? Unsuspecting carjackers would think it's a real person! Although the dummy can't talk (perhaps a blessing) it's head can turn, its arms are moveable, and you can even dress it and have it hold a cup of coffee or a can of soda, "for realism," says Fink. Some clever commuters out there may think that they can fill their cars with Fink's dummies and sail down the HOV lane. Fink's thought of that, and plans to sell the dummy with a disclaimer "stating that this is strictly an anti-crime device." He's patented the thing, and hopes to have it in stores before the Christmas rush.

California Here We Come
California's Governor Pete Wilson has put forth a pretty radical proposal, especially for the state where driving is virtually considered a birthright. He wants to get the estimated 2 million unlicensed California drivers off the streets and freeways, and hopes to do so by confiscating their cars, making the roads safer for the state's 18 million legal drivers (plus those rare California pedestrians). Under the proposed legislation, if a car is stopped and the driver is unable to produce a valid license, state police will impound the car. A study by the State's Department of Motor Vehicles found that about 75 percent of drivers whose licenses are suspended for drunk driving continue to drive and are involved in 15 percent of all fatal car accidents in the state.

Great Leap Backwards
Forget about the information superhighway. Like it or not, developing countries are still throwing their money at the old-fashioned kind of superhighway in some areas of the globe. Southern China recently opened its first six-lane highway, linking the boom towns of Shenzen and Guangzhou. The 76-mile road cost $1.14 billion to build and will see 30,000 vehicles per day. Shooting off from this road is another, now under construction. This eight-lane, 68-mile road between Guangzhou and Zhuhai will set China back another $694 million, 68 miles, and help to bring its infrastructure development in line with 1950's America.

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