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Motor Vehicle deaths continue to decline
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5469

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject: Motor Vehicle deaths continue to decline Reply with quote

Although there are many things that the private sector does much better than government, the idea that government doesn't do anything well is sheer madness. In today's news reports were preliminary traffic safety data from 2009, showing that traffic deaths are now under 34,000 each year. Traffic deaths peaked in 1972 at 54,589--approximately the same number of US Soldiers killed in Vietnam. This decline has continued despite the continued increase in the number of drivers and miles traveled, and despite the increase in distractions like cell phones that contribute the such accidents.

The cause? Government programs that mandated safety improvements, not limited to seat belts and air bags, but an entire suite of safety measures, and other government programs that provided educational messages for safe driving. Of course the car companies resisted these requirements, and most of them were never offered as private sector marketing ploys.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3522

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good news Mac.
Air traffic control is another example. I used to think private did everything better but I was wrong.
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pueno



Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2739

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:38 pm    Post subject: Lawyers, etc. Reply with quote

I've read that the automakers' biggest reluctance to introducing new safety features was because of the courts.

The argument went like this.

Any new safety feature takes several years in design, development, engineering, testing, etc. before it makes it into the showroom.

Sometimes, injuries and deaths occur that could have been prevented IF ONLY that specific safety innovation had been installed -- but that innovation wasn't due out until the following model year.

Lawyers have won arguments in court when they've sued on behalf of injured parties (or families of someone killed) by saying, "Gee, Fred Motor Company, you had this in development but held it back. If you had installed this feature on my client's car, she'd be alive today. Therefore, YOU are responsible for my client's loss."

And it's not the lawyers fault for such an argument -- it's the idiot juries that swallow that crap.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5469

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While that may be true, the damages awarded are a pittance compared to the cost of retooling, or the total cashflow, or the income from the safety innovation. I just don't buy the bullshit that the market is a perfect venue to encourage innovation or protect the public commons.

Lawyers that are only risk averse, and don't see the bigger picture, are a significant problem in many arenas.
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pueno



Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2739

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac wrote:
While that may be true, the damages awarded are a pittance compared to the cost of retooling, or the total cashflow, or the income from the safety innovation. I just don't buy the bullshit that the market is a perfect venue to encourage innovation or protect the public commons.

I think many of the safety features we enjoy today were born on the race track.

Protecting the public is not part of the Fred Motor Company mentality. Dollars are. (Nothing against Fred.)


mac wrote:

Lawyers that are only risk averse, and don't see the bigger picture, are a significant problem in many arenas.

Lawyers do what they're supposed to do: billable hours. (No offense, Dan.)
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what I find frustrating is that some of these life-saving technologies were available, but not included, except for"luxury cars" for years.

I bought a BMW in 2001 that included stability control, head air bags, side airbags etc etc. Safety features that were not offered on most US or Jap cars. You paid...you got the protection. A couple years after I bought the car...my saddest day...I attended a funeral for a 13 year old son of a very close friend, who had died in a car accident of injuries that would likely not have occured in my car.

It took a long time before these features found their way into main stream US auto showrooms.

BTW, my BMW cost only about 10% more than a comparable Subaru.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5469

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CB--Although I know more about govnermental programs, and their effectiveness, than many on this forum, the public safety issue is deeply personal. I am alive today, having survived a head on collision at a combined speed of about 120 mph, because of safety regulation. Two were killed.

Much of the anti-government fervor comes from people who seek to protect their own pecuniary interest, transfer costs to the public, ignorance, or in some cases I suspect, resentment for having been busted for violating environmental laws.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1518

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I think there most definitely is a role for government when it comes to public safety, they are usually limited to small, incremental steps.

50 years ago, they could have required 5 point seat belts, roll cages and helmets in all cars, and if they had done so, millions of lives would have been saved. Of course, most people would have said that that was going too far, regardless of the benefits. So the government takes baby steps, but lots of them to stay in good favor with the people. Big steps can cause too much rebellion.

In the middle 60's when I was in college, I was driving my parents 1959 Ford and I asked them to have seat belts installed because it seemed like a smart thing to do. No government mandate needed.

I am not sure what my point is, but government can go too far sometimes. I fear that Obama care is one of those times, where the concept is sound, but the implementation could be a nightmare. We will see.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well spoken.
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feuser



Joined: 29 Oct 2002
Posts: 1395

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

techno900 wrote:
While I think there most definitely is a role for government when it comes to public safety, they are usually limited to small, incremental steps.

50 years ago, they could have required 5 point seat belts, roll cages and helmets in all cars, and if they had done so, millions of lives would have been saved. Of course, most people would have said that that was going too far, regardless of the benefits. So the government takes baby steps, but lots of them to stay in good favor with the people. Big steps can cause too much rebellion.

In the middle 60's when I was in college, I was driving my parents 1959 Ford and I asked them to have seat belts installed because it seemed like a smart thing to do. No government mandate needed.

I am not sure what my point is, but government can go too far sometimes. I fear that Obama care is one of those times, where the concept is sound, but the implementation could be a nightmare. We will see.



I would like to buy a Subaru Outback Turbo Diesel as it has been available overseas for several years. An AWD station wagon getting 40 miles to the gallon....

I can't because Subaru of America would have to get the car approved by the EPA, possibly retrofit the emissions system for particulate emissions control and they just don't see the market for it.

Who is to blame here - the EPA, Subaru, the lack interest among consumers? Are we to abandon a system that keeps emissions in check because of this anecdotal "evidence" where regulations may or may not keep the "greener" product off the market?

When Bard complains that he or his family/friends can't drive his Hummer across a dry creek bed on his own property, what is at stake? Is Steven Bard the only one to suffer the consequences of his driving into a rock, breaking the oil pan and poisoning the aquifer when the next rain flushes the mess downstream?

Yes, I think government has a role in protecting the public interest. Whether it's mandating that everyone pay for his and her health care instead of offloading the cost to the taxpayer or keeping individuals or corporations from inflicting environmental damage far beyond their own property limits.

No, I don't see how Obama's EPA does things fundamentally different. Most of the increases of the government's regulatory powers under Obama were in the financial sector - for very good reasons, and somehow without damaging or destroying the financial industry.

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