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My First New Car

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My First New Car

A few months ago I bought my first new car. The number of choices to be made seemed a little ridiculous. I walked into the dealer knowing I wanted a green Ford Focus sedan, only to find out there were half a dozen models that fit into that category – Focus LX, LX Premium, SE, SE Comfort, ZTS, blah blah blah, and a couple shades of green.

In addition to the car model and color choices were decisions on options packages. And having seen the "pimped out" SUVs on MTV Cribs, complete with two or three LCD screens (one in the dashboard for the driver, of course), DVD player, speakers costing more than my college education, GPS navigation systems similar to those used in the Space Shuttle, heated seats, and 20 inch chrome wheels, my eyes were wide with opportunity. After checking on financing and whittling down the alternatives to what I might really need or want, I ended up with the most basic of standard packages.

Even the standard package in my car seems excessive. Three years ago, remote locks, power adjustable side mirrors, and advanced heating systems were a luxury, but today they are standard package necessities. My cup holders are adjustable to a few sizes, accommodating everything from an eight ounce coffee to a gluttonous fifty-two ounce Extreme Big Gulp. The stereo has twenty plus presets (with the large panel display of the

call sign, not just the radio frequency), an option to scan through channels searching only for stations playing a specified music genre, and of course adjustable treble and bass, which I'll never touch. The car manual, which had more pages dedicated to the stereo than the rest of the automobile, revealed a clever feature where I can program a volume for the radio to reset...

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...he was about to drive over...

When I look past what's inside the Ford Focus LX Premium versus the SE Comfort, I can see many of these technological advances for what they really are: unnecessary risks. The fact is that the number of accidents (and deaths) increases as a direct result of driver distractions, and more technology only provides more distraction. Unfortunately, manufacturers realize a high tech GPS system can sell for a lot more than an improved seat belt. Protection of human safety should be the primary concern of transportation regulations and in-vehicle technology developments. So while other people continue to drive while calling in to check voice mail, worrying about finishing off the Big Gulp Slurpee, and buying a GPS navigator to find the fastest route to grandma's house, I'll know I drove away from the dealership with the safest option: focus.
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