One hundred and twenty years ago this year, the first Italian car hit the road.
Professor Enrico Bernardi built a gasoline engine in 1883. 11 years later,
in 1894, he sold his first three-wheel automobile. The
Bernardi 1894 had many advanced features, considering that most people still drove horse
carriages at the time, including overhead valves, a detachable cylinder
head, fuel and air filters, automatic lubrication and a Maybach-type jet
carburetor. The Bernaldi could do 800 RPMs at top speed, or about 20 MPH.
Bernardi continued producing cars until 1901, including a four-wheel model
with a supercharged 3.5 HP engine, when Fiat and other larger companies
forced him into bankruptcy.
Well, it may not be your
next car, but experts do predict that, by 2050, most cars in America will be
driverless cars. This technology may ultimately make traffic tickets obsolete, which would
be bad news for state governments that rely on traffic tickets to increase revenue.
Many of today's cars are already driverless to some extent; for example,
they may be able to park themselves or warn you about a possible collision.
This technology may be one reason that traffic tickets do not have an
intent element. The judge in Mojave doesn't care if you meant to run
the stop sign or not, because traffic tickets are "
strict liability" offenses.
The next generation of vehicles may make intent a moot point. Instead,
we may go into traffic court and blame google or Tesla for making a driverless
car that caused us to break the rules.
But for most of us, we want the control. We enjoy driving and unwinding
the road. While it's nice to get some help every once in a while,
we want it to be on our terms. And perhaps that's why we balk when
judges refuse to allow us to use any independent judgment on when we believe
that it's safer to drive in a manner "not" prescribed by
law in those particular circumstances.