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The Problem With Auto Safety

A Flipped SUVAuto safety has done a lot of good, there’s no denying that.  If it wasn’t for Volvo, we wouldn’t have the air bag, and surely more people would be walking around with a steering wheel on their forehead.  But car safety standards have begun to invade the area of diminishing returns, in so far as to be prudent to instead of marching forward, trying a way to save one to find a way to save one more person’s life every month in a car crash, start rethinking to start rethinking what it has already done, and try to find better ways to accomplish those same goals.

One of the latest targets of auto safety standards is roof strength, on SUV’s, which are prone to looking like turtles flipped on their shell, but more recently, on all maner manner of man-mover.  The expected number of injuries and / or deaths that these new standards are going to lessen (in the case of injury) or spare (in the case of death), are a surprisingly small number: slightly more than 10,000 in the United States.  And where that sounds like a lot, when you compare it to the over 300,000,000 people in the United States, it begs the question why?  The answer is quite simply that the NTSB (government) and IIHS (insurance companies) are still beating to the same drum as they where since inception.

The cost of these mandated safety regulations is more expensive autos, which are heavier, and therefore more fuel hungry.  My recommendation is to continue to pursue anything, if they still exist, that would drastically increase car and truck safety, but start looking at ways to make the existing safety measures, like crumple zones, more effective toward their purpose, and cost less in the process.  And this cost is not just in manufacturing of the vehicle, but repair costs as well.  A minor accident should not end up costing $15,000 to repair the damage to the $23,000 car.

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