air bags

Gary Freitag gfreitag at GREATBATCH.COM
Wed Nov 19 14:24:28 MST 1997

John writes:
>Should you be able to remove the emmisions devices? the seatbelts?
>the windshield?  Just how far does this idea go?

There are, of course limits- limits in both directions.

The difference is that because of political expediency, we have a
safety device that kills.  Imagine a smoke alarm that burns houses
down, trigger safeties causing guns to fire, or seatbelts strangling
passengers to death.  Would you want to keep using them (or forced to
use them by law)?  The air-bag is an expensive exploding cannon whose
time has yet to come.

>The real problem is people couldn't follow a simple set of
>instructions: "If a child (or baby seat) is being put in a seat with
>an airbag, move the seat as far away from the airbag as possible."
>Because parents didn't follow this advice, children were injured and
>killed.  To further prevent problems, we are now scared into putting
>no children in seats with airbags--even though from everything I've
>seen, following the original advice is safe.  Of course, being a
>cautious parent, I will follow the new advice.

Great advice.  However, not all fatalities or injuries are children.
There has also been a couple cases where people were unfortunate enough
to be bending over to pick something off the floor when the bag went

What I also don't here in the news is that while all these supposed
lives are being saved, hundreds of injuries (broken arms, noses,...)
are being caused by air-bags in collisions where people would walk away
without a scratch.  It isn't enough to just sit as far away as you can.

Another interesting point.  I keep hearing warnings about how seatbelts
in some models have been redesigned to work with airbags and will not
offer the protection normally given by seatbelts.  Yet I cannot find
out from the NHTSA, or any other source, what vehicles this applies to.
 I cannot even fathom what redesign would be done.  Would this not be
critical information?

I also question the claims made on how many individuals have been
saved.  I don't have details here, so I shouldn't assume too much.  But
considering the zealousness of those promoting air-bags, their
unwillingness to acknowledge a lapse in judgement, and the continued
mantra to pursue this path at the exclusion of all others, leads me to
believe that the number would be anything but conservative.  There also
seems to be a lack of cost-benefit analysis- I heard somewhere around
$60,000 per life saved.

I will follow the guidelines.  But I will also put in my application,
and wonder why I need to get their permission and yield information
like the VIN number of the car, and why I must certify my reasons.

Obviously, a hot button. :)

gfreitag at

P.S. - just remember that if you make the request and falsify the
reason, you are subject to criminal prosecution under Title 18, Section

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