VW engineer pleads guilty to emissions conspiracy

BACK SEAT DRIVING—As the hierarchy at Volkswagen has been bleating for months: The “rogue engineer” responsible for this long nightmare (for them, their dealers, customers, and employees) has been apprehended, accused, indicted, and has pled guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to defraud the government (through wire fraud) and, in doing so, violating the clean air act. Editor Doug Stokes ponders.

A new neighborhood phenomena

BACK SEAT DRIING— There is a new automotive phenomena sprouting in my neighborhood. From my slightly elevated household perch above the far western reaches of the Los Angeles city limits, I can hear the creation of what can best be described as “jerk circles.” – Harold Osmer

Communication Barriers in Teen Driving

BACK SEAT DRIVING—Chevrolet announced Teen Driver. Its technology helps parents track and observe the habits of new drivers. Details such as a maximum speed, “overspeed” breach warnings, lane change warnings, distance traveled, front automatic braking, volume limits and more can be brought to the driver’s attention and reviewed in the in-vehicle report card. With audio and visual warnings gaining popularity, from heads-up displays to lane-drift notifications, the jump to keeping tabs on new drivers and alerting them to unsafe driving methods was sure to follow. Well, it’s here, and Mirinda Osmer reports that it’s even more bothersome than expected.

On Danny Thompson’s record-breaking run

BACK SEAT DRIVING—I remember Mickey talking about Challenger II, but I never saw it in person. When I worked as the PR guy for his Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group, the car was in storage somewhere “down the hill” from our offices that were located in the lower level of the Bradbury home (often referred to as “estate” in the media) that he shared with his wife Trudy. This magnificent missile sat for decades before Mickey’s only son, Danny reanimated his dad’s dream and set a new speed record with the car. Bravo! – Doug Stokes

Rolling down the barriers to the world

BACK SEAT DRIVING—Windows are barriers to the outside world. With so many drivers so focused on their own driving and their own destination, roads can be unsafe. Using medians, bike lanes and even the other side of the road to get to the next light faster is becoming too common. Mirinda Osmer grew up with the windows down, and that helps to remember that there’s more to this world than her destination.

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