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road sage

Say what you will about driving: motorists are stupid and poorly trained; roads are congested and badly kept; the freedom of the road has now become the tedium of the road. But one thing you could always say with some certainty was that, accidents aside, drivers were not the most litigious folk.

Drivers settled things the way they did back in the Wild West: by cursing at each other and then retreating home to recount the incident to the family and hired hands at the homestead.

This seems to be changing. A gaggle of new lawsuits are on the road. Desperate and petty they may be, but they warrant closer examination. If we're not careful, we'll start seeing automobiles that come equipped with WITs (writ issuing systems).

First up, the claim by a Michigan woman that Ryan Gosling's Drive didn't contain enough, well, driving.

Sarah Deming last week filed a suit against the movie's distributor FilmDistrict, and Novi, Michigan's Emagine Theaters, hoping to get her money back. How much does she want? The complaint does not say, but does maintain that Deming, who also says the film is anti-Semitic, allegedly suffered "damages including but not limited to the purchase price of the ticket."

CNN reports that "Deming claims that the promotional material for the crime drama was misleading, suggesting the film would feature more action-y driving scenes. … The suit alleges that the company 'promoted the film Drive as very similar to the Fast and Furious, or similar, series of movies.' But, Sarah was sad to learn, ' Drive bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film… having very little driving in the motion picture.'"

She has a point. If you call your movie Drive then it should feature driving punctuated by racing. Dialogue should be limited to "Give me the keys," "We've got to go faster" and "Hey, Steve McQueen, want to go driving?" It should be satin-disco-scorpion jacket free.

When I saw Drive was coming out I was excited and anticipated a 2011 version of the 1978 Ryan O'Neill flick The Driver or the 1968 classic Bullitt. Like many car buffs I was a little disappointed. So I say, "Sail on, Sarah Deming. Keep fighting the good fight. May you not only get a back the price of admission but also a refund on your popcorn."

Next comes the Made in the U.S.A. Foundation, which has filed complaints against Chrysler and Ford for misleading advertising. The consumer's group says that Chrysler 300 sedans, made in Brampton, Ont., are being falsely touted as manufactured in the United States with the tag "imported from Detroit." It also maintains that the "U.S.-made" Ford Fusion is assembled in Mexico. Made in the U.S.A. Foundation wants auto manufacturers to stop claiming the vehicles as Yankee produced.

Now I'm not going to resort to easy American-bashing. I'm not going to suggest that Canadian auto workers could make the Chrysler 300 more American by, for instance, installing a gadget that in it that would allow it to pre-emptively occupy parking spots or by making the Chrysler 300 have a shiny exterior that hides a rotten and decaying core. I'm above that kind of easy hack satire.

Sure, I could suggest that every Chrysler 300 sold should have $14-trillion of hidden debt in the trunk but what good would that do? I could suggest that, to make the Chrysler 300 really American, every vehicle sold should actually belong to China but it would only serve to antagonize our already hurting American cousins.

Besides, we don't need another lawsuit. It's time to put on our satin scorpion disco jackets, forget suing one another, and get behind the wheel.


And speaking of cold weather!

It's almost time to take your ride in for its mid-autumn pre-winter checkup. Not sure it needs to attention? Here are a few pointers:

Signs Your Car May Need a Tune Up

  1. In order to start it you have to stick it with your Epipen.
  2. Dashboard warning lights form the words “Pull over.”
  3. GPS system always directs you to Canadian Tire.
  4. Your car lacks “luxurious” extras – like brake pads.
  5. Gas mileage starts to drop. You now only get seven kilometres per litre when you used to get 12.
  6. When idling at traffic lights your car chokes and coughs so obnoxiously it unintentionally starts fights with other cars.
  7. Spark plugs have the words “Buy Victory Bonds” written on the side.
  8. Even after closing down your rotten egg business and removing all rotten eggs from your car, it still smells of rotten eggs.
  9. You start noticing “symptoms” in your car. Like it never starts.
  10. Every time you place key in the ignition a computerized voice says, “You don’t have to do this.”
  11. Your vehicle has rust on its rust.
  12. When you listen to your car’s motor knocking you’re sure you can hear long-lost relatives trying to communicate with you from the other side.
  13. A Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees cassette is stuck in your eight-track.
  14. You drive a Saab.

Follow Andrew Clark on Twitter: @aclarkcomedy