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Putting the Blame Where It Doesn’t Belong

Summary:
In a strange take on William Burrough’s famous quip about gun control advocates – who want to take guns away from people who haven’t shot anyone – lawyers for explode-in-your-face air bag manufacturer Takata are trying to convince a federal judge to suspend victim’s lawsuits against the car manufacturers who unwittingly installed the defective, deadly air bags in their vehicles. News story here. This is generating a tsunami of outrage – against the car manufacturers. Which is exactly like being outraged by your peaceful neighbor who has a rifle  . . .  because some guy in Ohio went on a rampage with one. It’s weirder, actually – because in the case of the car companies, they never had a choice. It wasn’t their decision to put air bags in their vehicles. They

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In a strange take on William Burrough’s famous quip about gun control advocates – who want to take guns away from people who haven’t shot anyone – lawyers for explode-in-your-face air bag manufacturer Takata are trying to convince a federal judge to suspend victim’s lawsuits against the car manufacturers who unwittingly installed the defective, deadly air bags in their vehicles.

News story here.

This is generating a tsunami of outrage – against the car manufacturers. Which is exactly like being outraged by your peaceful neighbor who has a rifle  . . .  because some guy in Ohio went on a rampage with one.

It’s weirder, actually – because in the case of the car companies, they never had a choice. It wasn’t their decision to put air bags in their vehicles. They were ordered to do it by federal regulators.

Two of whom can be named specifically:

Joan Claybrook – who was Jimmah Cahtah’s pick to run the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 1977-1981 and prior to that, a “public citizen” working for the ambulance-chasing lawyer, Ralph Nader. She (and he) agitated for an air bag mandate, to impose on the populace what the market had rejected. GM and Ford had tried offering air bags as optional equipment in a few of their early-mid ‘70s models, but few people voluntarily bought them. So – naturally (in the unnatural minds of control freaks like Claybrook and Nader) the bags had to be mandated.

Time to buy old US gold coins

Enter the next defendant – our ought to be: Elizabeth Dooooole.

She was a cabinet-level offender, the Secretary of Transportation from 1983-1987 under Rrrronald Rrrreagan. It was under her watch that a “Supplemental Restraint” mandate went into effect as part of something hung with the title, Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. It decreed that all vehicles manufactured after September 1, 1998, be factory equipped with bags for the driver and front seat passenger.

These bags were “defective,” too – in that it was known that the force with which they deployed could (and did) seriously hurt and even kill people. A bunch of people. Both Claybrook and Dole knew this would happen before it happened; they’d been briefed by engineers working for the car companies, who told them. It didn’t make them blink. The SRS mandate remained in place, people got killed – and neither of these two biddies were dragooned into a courtroom or even sent a fine in the mail.

Does anyone ask why?

Ah. Air bags are “safer” now. Adjustments were made to their design to reduce the force of the deployment when sensors in the seat sense the presence of a person who can’t absorb the impact as well as a standard-sized adult, such as a child or an older person (the sensors sense weight and most kids and older people weigh less than standard adults).

People still get hurt, sometimes very badly. No one says anything.

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Eric Peters

Eric started out writing about cars for mainstream media outlets such as The Washington Times, Detroit News and Free Press, Investors Business Daily, The American Spectator, National Review, The Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal.

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