Automotive technology is making people more comfortable behind the wheel, maybe too comfortable.
Baby boomers are snapping their fingers to commercial-free satellite radio music. Executives are talking into their windshields on hands-free cell phones.
Parents, happy that their children are about be sedated by the roof-mounted DVD, cheerfully referee the choices of their backseat passengers.
Infotainment's older sister, the safety message, is doing her work, too. Worries about dying in an accident are cocooned in driver, passenger and side-impact airbags.
Weather-related driving cautions are steadied by stability control systems. Fear of a body sent flying is buckled-up in the three-point belt system.
Yes, drivers are getting all the technology they need to feel happy, entertained and safe.
Even so, too many people die on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 42,000 people are killed in accidents every year. Of that number, 18,000 people cross the line marking the lane. And, contrary to what most people probably think, nearly 90 percent of those who cross the line do so on clear days with dry roads.
Nissan North America Inc. is the first car company to sell a lane-departure warning system on production light vehicles in this country. A light flashes on the instrument panel and a chime warns whenever a driver begins drifting across a lane.