Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Protecting Your Safety

Sales Sticker for Fiat 500

Back in the 1970s the big, bad government was proposing new regulations for automobiles. The Big Three, as always, opposed the new regs.

They considered the new safety regulation a joke. The considered the regulation to be useless. Or worse, more dangerous than not.

What was this new, dangerous big, bad government intervention? Air bags. One for the driver and one for the passenger. Now we have compact cars with 10 of them. The sticker for the Fiat 500 above lists 7 air bags.

In 1980 (PDF), before a decade before air bags started to become standard, there were 3.3 deaths per 100MM miles driven. In 2008 the rate was 1.3.

To be sure, air bags are not the only thing to contribute to the decreased death rate. Crumple zones, also a government mandate, make cars safer. Seat belt laws - yep, government again - have increased the use of seat belts and made occupants safer. Stricter DUI laws and tougher enforcement - do I have to say it? - have made the roads safer.

But remember, the free market solves everything. Every. Thing.

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