Monday, July 30, 2007

Airbags in Cars Kill Babies

According to an article in the Detroit Free Press,
Since the mid-1990s, the number of children who have died inside hot vehicles has risen dramatically, totaling about 340. One reason was a change parent-drivers made to protect their kids after juvenile air-bag deaths peaked in 1995 -- they put them in the back seat, where they are more easily forgotten.
That wasn't the point of the article, but it made me think. Weren't passenger side airbags mandated by the government? Of course they were, in order to save lives. But do they? Not according to this report.
Government airbag policy looks more and more like the emperor with no clothes. Increasingly bizarre pronouncements are offered to conceal its nakedness, including: Don’t place infants in front seats. Don’t allow children under twelve to sit in front seats. If you are short, move your seat back and add blocks to the pedals so you can still reach them. Such actions are not merely inconvenient, they can reduce safety. Infants and children in rear seats divert driver attention from the road ahead. By moving seats back, short drivers reduce their already compromised forward view, and make braking more difficult.

The mandate requiring airbags was supported by government claims, documented in the 1977 Federal Register, that they would save over 90,000 lives per decade -- an absurd claim relative to technical data then available. The current (far too optimistic) claim is that they have saved 1700 lives from 1986 to 1996, less than two percent of the original claim, and an even smaller percent of the over 400,000 traffic deaths that occurred in this period.

The three best technical studies consistently find that airbags reduce the risk of death in a crash by 9% for belted drivers. To interpret a 9% effectiveness, think of 100 belted drivers killed in cars without airbags. If the cars had airbags (everything else being equal), then 91 would still die and 9 would survive, usually with severe injuries. I am unaware of any intervention approved by the FDA with an effectiveness as low as 9%. Even for those driving without safety belts, which is illegal in all states except New Hampshire, airbags reduce fatality risk by only 13%.
So not only aren't airbags not saving very many lives, they are actually causing the deaths of small children due to the fact that the airbags are forcing parents to change their driving habits . . . in order to protect their children from the airbags that may kill them if they're in the front seat . . . where parents can see them.

The busybodies who inflicted this bit of madness on the American driving public and don't have to live with the consequences of their actions have obviously never read Thomas Sowell. Thomas Sowell is an economist, college professor, columnist, and one of the most level headed intelligent thinkers this country has, which is probably why he is roundly ignored by the elite and the decision makers in this country. One point he's made repeatedly over the years is that politicians, and other busy-body, do-gooders never examine the results of the policies they force on the rest of us. They never ask for results after a policy has been implemented. So when some high sounding, progressive law is passed "for the good of the people," no one ever asks beforehand, "Is this really good for the people?" And no one examines the results afterward to ask, "Was this effective in the way we wanted it to be effective?"

340 children died, trapped inside hot vehicles. Don't forget the Progressive mantra, "if it saves even one life . . ." But this is a case of a policy taking lives of the youngest and most vulnerable. And none of the fools responsible for passing the laws that killed these children is held accountable. No one has even bothered to examine the evidence that airbags maybe are not worth the cost in money or in lives. That's a crime.

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At 8:51 AM, Blogger jennifer said...

Great Post Again!

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite authors(he wrote a book about late talking children)

Remember the dad who's kid died in the front because of an airbag? I think he was sentenced to jail...I can't remember too much.

But you are right on about the baby in the back, moms think and look in the rear view too much, I know I did.

I really agree, when someone else starts telling me what is good my alarms start going off.

At 6:24 AM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

Its usually best for the government to leave us alone!

At 10:16 PM, Blogger Harry said...

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorites too. And as Dr. Sowell often points out, it IS best for the government to leave us alone. Our country was founded on the quaint, old fashioned, yet radical at the time concept of limited government


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