Daniel Susco
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Four Modern Car Features That Would Have Saved the Pope’s Face in Colombia

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Pope Francis, known to many, Catholic or not, as “the cool Pope,” recently had something of a mishap on his Popemobile tour of Colombia. When travelling slowly through the crowd in the city of Cartagena, the driver appears to lose concentration for a second and nearly runs into the preceding car, sending the poor Pope, who had been leaning out the window, face-first into one of the vertical supports for the Popemobile’s standing box.

Ooooh: In slightly related news, the Bolt EV is an IIHS Top Safety Pick

The accident happens around 16 seconds in on this video.

However, that got me thinking—in this modern age, don’t we have technology that could have helped avoid such a sudden stop?

We do, and one of these may very well have prevented the spilling of Papal blood.

dynamic radar cruise control

Adaptive Cruise Control

Many new vehicles come with adaptive cruise control, which monitors the speed of the vehicle ahead and slows down or accelerates to keep a certain distance away. While it may seem like this is just for highway use, some adaptive cruise control systems can keep going even if the vehicle slows to a stop, and can handle ongoing traffic.


Ford Pre-Collision Assist

Front Proximity Alert

This is a somewhat general name for this feature, but I simply mean a system which can monitor distance to an object in front of the vehicle and give visual and audible warnings if a collision is imminent. This is often bundled into automatic braking systems, but could have reminded the Pope’s suddenly absent-minded driver (did you see how the bodyguards had to break into a jog, there to keep up?) that he was getting too close.


The 2016 Chevy Malibu's Teen Driver System

General Motors’ Teen Driver Software

While this may seem odd, GM’s Teen Driver software could potentially be perfect for parades like the one in Colombia, for the simple reasons that the system lets you set custom alerts and warnings when the vehicle is going over a certain speed. While I am not sure whether Teen Driver has minimum speeds for this, if it were set to, say, 3 mph (that’s about normal human walking speed), then the driver could be warned if the vehicle has too much of a sudden acceleration.


Car seat belt pillows

Photo: alamodestuff via CC

A Pillow

Worst case, why on Earth did they not have some sort of padding on that beam? For goodness’ sake, that things looks like it’s just an iron box bolted to the back half of a sedan; you would think they might anticipate some sort of jostling. So, just send someone into a fabric store and tell them to come back with some foam and a roll of duct tape.


Sounds Papal to Me: FamilyLink from OnStar is working to keep your family safe

News Source: ABC News

Daniel Susco is a native of the Dayton-Cincinnati area, and has written on a multitude of subjects. He can discuss Shakespeare, expound on Classical Mythology, and even make witty jokes about Pliny the Elder (More like “Pliny the Rounder,” right?). In his free time, Daniel enjoys reading, cooking, woodworking, and long walks on the beach (just kidding – sunburn is no joke). See more articles by Daniel.