June 1935 Radio-Craft[Table of Contents]
People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics. Radio-Craft was published from 1929 through 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged. See all articles from Radio-Craft.
If you think the controversy over whether drivers being distracted by telecommunications devices is something new, consider this article from a 1935 issue of Radio-Craft magazine. Mobile radio was a relatively new possibility at the time, as was the horseless carriage into which installation was a cause for concern by insurance companies and government regulators. Just as nowadays we worry about and sometimes fining drivers who use a smartphone for texting while driving, the state of Connecticut in 1935 went so far as to propose imposing a fine of $50 ($870 in 2015 money) for installing a radio set or any "other device which tends to distract the attention" of the operator.
A heated controversy between legislators and insurance companies - and radio manufacturers and car radio owners.
Ever since auto-radio installations became popular, a controversy has been going on - between legislative authorities and insurance companies on one hand, and radio manufacturers and car radio owners on the other - as to whether auto radio presented an accident hazard or not.
Last month, the state of Connecticut went so far as to introduce a bill providing a $50 penalty for the installation in an automobile of a radio set or any other device which "tends to distract the attention" of the operator!
However, the Radio Manufacturers Association which has been instrumental in bringing auto radio to its present popular position says in a letter to Radio-Craft - "We have no information that the bill is being pressed or seriously considered."
Mr. Bond Geddes, Executive vice-president and general manager of the RMA made the following summary of the situation. "Since that time (when auto radio first became popular) there has not been a single case according to any information in our possession where an automobile radio has been the cause of any major accident. Against this is the almost unanimous opinion of operators of automobiles equipped with radio that they tend to reduce speed and, therefore, are not a source of danger but actually become a safety-factor."
In a survey of the insurance companies interested in car insurance which was made a short time ago by Radio-Craft, many interesting replies were received to the questions asked. The majority of the companies evaded the issue of whether radio installations might influence their insurance rates or their desire to insure cars so equipped.
Posted October 12, 2015