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Auto-autonomy: the ethics of end of road-life issues
  1. D Isaacs1,
  2. D Fitzgerald2
  1. 1Department of Immunology & Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital Westmead, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
  2. 2Department of Respiratory Medicine, Children’s Hospital Westmead
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor D Isaacs, Dept of Immunology & Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia;

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Advances in modern technology mean that cars are living longer than ever before. This raises important end-of-road-life issues, as it becomes increasingly difficult to provide leaded fuel and shelter for our hydraulically challenged, ageing automobile population. The garage is full, and off-street parking is beyond the financial scope of most low and middle income families. It is a case of rust or bust.


Society has long been reluctant to countenance the concept of actively ending the road-life of motor vehicles, preferring to allow Nature to take its course. Simpler to let the natural phenomena of corrosion and inbuilt obsolescence take their inevitable toll, until the head gasket blows and the piston rods seize up for the last time.

But can we afford to allow elderly cars to simply choke and splutter as our roads become increasingly over populated and our atmosphere ever more polluted? Old bangers demand our attention, as their paint peels, their balding tyres leave their tread at every T-junction, their suspension sags, and their chrome corrodes. Is there an alternative to the ailing alternator and the carbonised carburettor? …

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  • Potential conflicts of interest: Dr Isaacs and Dr Fitzgerald have never owned or even driven either a Volvo or a four-wheel drive vehicle