By on July 22, 2013
YouTube Preview Image

Last week I wrote a pithy little article about my experience driving a Suzuki Cappuccino, a 660 CC kei car, when I was teaching in Japan. I followed the discussion that resulted with some interest and one of my favorite contributors and fellow motorcycle enthusiast, Syke, raised and interesting issue when he wrote: “I’d happily sign whatever paperwork necessary exempting myself (and my heirs) from personal injury lawsuits, or whatever other crap the lawyers can come up with, to own one. The impossibility of getting such cars is just another example of what a country full of cringing wimps we’ve become.” It’s something I have thought a lot about over the last few days and to me it comes down to a simple question: Should the government have a role in setting safety standards?

My own understanding of market theory may not be perfect, so this is a chance for TTAC’s best and brightest, many of whom may be much more versed on the subject than I, to educate us. As I am a common man, I would imagine that my understanding of market theory is typical so let’s use it to begin the discussion and see where it goes from there. In my mind, it goes something like this: If most consumers want safety features in their cars then they will elect not to buy cars that lack those features or will pay an added premium for them. In either case, the manufacturers will recognize that they are losing money on some products and making money on others and react to supply people with the best cars to fit the consumers’ desires. The market, then, determines the best way.

The problem arises when the government decides to stick its nose into industry’s business. The government uses a pool of bureaucrats, many of whom are experts in their respective fields, and when they determine there is a problem, say too many people are dying in car crashes, they create a regulation that mandates industry changes. In the late 50s, for example, the government responded to car crash data by mandating that seatbelts, an early version of which was first patented as far back as 1885, become standard equipment in all cars. By all accounts, most people back then saw little value in seat belts and promptly stuffed them into the crack under the seat back so the government then responded with an education campaign and, eventually, laws that mandated seat belt use by a car’s occupants. The end result is more tickets, more annoyance and, incidentally, more lives saved.

Driver quarter

But the government didn’t stop there. They mandated other safety regulations, implemented crash tests and have applied so many regulations to the construction of cars that some people see it as a bar to innovation. Today even the cheapest cars have a veritable arsenal of safety devices intended to keep your fragile body from being rent and torn apart by the impacts of a crash. The downside is that the simple, “unsafe” vehicles so many of us remember from the days of our youths, the open dune buggies, the Baja bugs, the two seat roadsters and the stripped down muscle cars are gone. Because of regulation, cars have grown on the outside and offer less interior space, have thicker A pillars that impede our view from the driver’s seat and lots of buzzers, whistles and warning lights to electronically bitch us into submission lest we fail to comply with the mandates of safety.

My own position is somewhere in the middle. I don’t necessarily like being so tightly regulated but if the recent hard economic times have taught me anything it’s that I don’t trust industry and the market to give a crap about the likes of me and mine when there is a dollar to be made at my expense. I wonder though, are we now, as Syke so eloquently states, “a country full of cringing wimps?” Did we trade away our heritage for safety and security? Does regulation have a place and, if so, how do we strike a balance? I don’t have the answers but perhaps you do. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

211 Comments on “Mandate Or Market Forces: Are We A Nation Of Cringing Wimps?...”


  • avatar
    carve

    How safe a car is is simply not something most customers can have a grasp of intuitively. I’m grateful for all the modern safety advances. Still, it seems overbearing to require them on all cars. Perhaps things like microcars, exotics, niche-vehicles, or vehicles with a limited run (say, under 1000) can have exemptions. The reason I believe this is because there’s no reason a motorcycle should be legal to drive on the street and, say, an open-wheel formula-ford-esque sports car is illegal because it’s unsafe, despite being far safer than any motorcycle.

    • 0 avatar
      MPAVictoria

      “How safe a car is is simply not something most customers can have a grasp of intuitively.”
      Exactly. The average person is not an engineer and is not trained to assess the safety of something as complicated as an automobile.

      “Perhaps things like microcars, exotics, niche-vehicles, or vehicles with a limited run (say, under 1000) can have exemptions.”
      Fantastic idea!

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    Get rid of NHTSA. IIHS is enough (equivalent to UL for electrical equipment)

    If skateboards, bicycles and motorcycles are legal, it makes no sense to outlaw cars without airbags. People can make tradeoffs and pay for whatever level of safety they desire, assisted by IIHS ratings.

    Otherwise, we might as well outlaw walking on sidewalks and riding in bike lanes. “If it saves one life …”

    • 0 avatar
      marc

      “People can make tradeoffs and pay for whatever level of safety they desire”

      I suppose people that can afford it should also get better quality water and air too. And electricla cords that don’t fry in their hands. And food that doesn’t make them sick. You know, as long as they can afford it.

      • 0 avatar
        KitaIkki

        “As long as they can afford it”

        How is forcing them to “afford it” by mandating safety features and higher car prices helping “the people?” How is forcing the poor to buy cheap used cars without any modern safety features helping anyone? Insurance companies can also adjust premiums based on IIHS ratings. Let the free market work.

        I can see emission standards, since they affect the air quality for everyone. But airbags? If it’s legal to ride motorcycles, why is it illegal to drive a car without airbags?

        • 0 avatar
          marc

          Because even motorcyclists have safety standards that must be adhered to. like helmets that must meet a certain crashworthiness. Like tires that must be street legal. like gas tanks thta won;t explode. “Bikes don’t have airbags” doesn’t fly with me. We are over-regulated in this and every other developed country to within an inch of our lives. And I am perfectly ok with that.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            “We are over-regulated in this and every other developed country to within an inch of our lives. And I am perfectly ok with that.”

            Considering how many people think this way literally makes me sick to my stomach.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            +1 brenschluss

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “Having an idea of how many people think this way literally makes me sick to my stomach.”

            Why? You would prefer this all be dealt with via civil lawsuits?

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            Then let’s just all go back to living in London circa 1860. Things weren’t well regulated back then. Utopia, right?

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            No. I’m glad there are controls that say you can’t dump X and Y into public water supplies, and can’t belch Z amounts of poison into the air, but hell if you’re going to tell me I really need electronic stability control, or a rear-view camera, or rear-side-curtain airbags to protect those kids I don’t have.

            Regulation is obviously nuanced, and the very phrase “over-regulated” implies that there is too much. Saying that some breathing room on automotive safety features would send us into the 1800s is beyond useful hyperbole.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “but hell if you’re going to tell me I really need electronic stability control, or a rear-view camera, or rear-side-curtain airbags to protect those kids I don’t have.”

            Then you’d agree that in a free market your life, health and home ownser’s insurance should be able to adjust your rates based on the fact that you opted out of stability control?

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            “No. I’m glad there are controls that say you can’t dump X and Y into public water supplies, and can’t belch Z amounts of poison into the air, but hell if you’re going to tell me I really need electronic stability control, or a rear-view camera, or rear-side-curtain airbags to protect those kids I don’t have.”

            But why are you or other automotive enthusiasts better at deciding what features actually save lives and what are just superfluous? I would rather trust NHTSA than the auto bloggers. Their track record is pretty damn good. You can’t just pick and choose. Like…O, I agree that water is drinkable, but the PPM requirement is too high for any business to comply with. I agree that fatlities per vehicle should go down, but seatbelts lower it enough, TC is just an unnecessary extra weight? How do you know what is the acceptable amount of safety that should be regulated? So hyperbole may have been brought in to prove my point, but you are actually doing a better job of proving it by admitting that some regulation is required, and that those who have done such regulation have done so with success.

            (I’m not sure where this post will end up in the thread, but it is clearly in response to brenschluss at 4:10pm…)

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            jmo:

            RE: Civil lawsuits, I’m not in a position to say how far the government should go in its obligations to protect the commons and individuals, but saying that an automobile may not be produced without these safety features is absolutely crossing a line. It’s great that they’re offered, though.

            RE: Insurance: Yes. My current car does not have ESC, and maybe my insurance would go down if I chose a similar model that did. But I’m willing to eat that, so the answer is yes. And anyway, my perfect-world 1500# inexpensive deathtrap would cause little damage in the event I hit anything, which should mean nice low rates.

            marc:

            Seatbelts are uncomplicated and have obvious benefits, and I can even tentatively get behind a required airbag or two, provided there can be exceptions. Difference between us though, is that I see diminishing returns as expensive, complicated active safety equipment is added, whereas I’m guessing you feel safety is worth any cost, for the children you know.

            I am curious, are you not comfortable with how safe cars are today?

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “But why are you or other automotive enthusiasts better at deciding what features actually save lives and what are just superfluous. I would rather trust NHTSA than the auto bloggers. Their track record is pretty damn good.”

            Because of the accountability that comes with people putting their own money where their mouth is.

            Statist worship of central planning is always justified by how much of an idiot Joe Public is – and he is. That worship never seems to notice that your entire philosophy is built around given Joe Idiot Public the keys to mismanage not only his own life but yours as well.

            With a market that consists of obscenely heavy, expensive, and over-gadgeted cars you can barely see out of I would say the NHTSA is failing pretty hard.

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            “With a market that consists of obscenely heavy, expensive, and over-gadgeted cars you can barely see out of I would say the NHTSA is failing pretty hard.”

            Like that $11,000 Versa that meets all the safety requirements?

            Failing? Don’t make me source the wikipedia article again on how traffic fatalities have decreased year after year. Auto safety regulations do work, and I know you don’t believe this, but they do so at relatively little cost to you.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Like that $11,000 Versa that meets all the safety requirements?”

            Because $11K is chump change now?

          • 0 avatar
            LectroByte

            @brenschluss

            Feel free to move here next to me in wild and wonderful Tennessee… Insurance? Safety Inspections? Good Brakes? Decent Tires? Not required at all. Let the free market reign!

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            “Because even motorcyclists have safety standards that must be adhered to.”

            ” “Bikes don’t have airbags” doesn’t fly with me.”

            I am left gob-smacked by this.

            You.. Do realize that a motorcycle is a two-wheel instrument of death, right? You’ve heard the joke, “What do ER doctors call Motorcycle riders? Organ-Donors.” right?

            The argument that since motorcycles have their own safety regulations then there is no excuse to bitch about safety regulations in cars simply falls completely apart when considering the fact that at base level motorcycles are horrifically less safe than cars and the one safety regulation which could elevate motorcycle riding to be as safe as typical car driving simply is not even on the table for being implemented.

            ..that regulation of course being BANNING MOTORCYCLES.

            Now, I have no problem with motorcycles or motorcycle riding but…

            ..if you think motorcycle riding is a fair and valid thing and should be allowed, how can you in your next breath condemn car driving without airbags.. an activity that is still infinitely safer than riding a motorcycle with all the current safety things it’s possible to deploy on or from a motorcycle and/or it’s rider?

            I mean, this isn’t an all-or-nothing thing here. We’re talking about relative levels of safety, what degree of trade-offs between safety and the things that safety interferes with is one comfortable with.

            We’re not talking, “Either regulation is Valid in which case we need ALL of the Safety things, ALL of them! Or, it is Invalid and therefor we should have No safety things at all, absolutely zero safety things.”

      • 0 avatar
        justgregit

        There is nothing to prevent those people from driving far more dangerous old cars. I would argue it would be much safer to drive a new car with less safety features than move down market to an old car with none. I say this as someone who recently daily drove a 1987 Toyota 4runner for 3 years. Better to have something newer where at least you don’t have to worry about the wheel falling off in addition to the fact that it doesn’t have airbags, antilock brakes (though drum brakes are bad enough to be like antilock, if that inspires confidence), traction control, and everything else. This is maybe an extreme example, but the case still holds. Even if a new car had no safety features and the same specs as a 1987 vehicle, it would be a lot safer strictly based on age. People move into old warn out cars when they are priced out of newer ones.

        • 0 avatar
          oldyak

          most of the ‘far more dangerous old cars’ are gone since ‘cash for clunkers’

          • 0 avatar
            Dubbed

            Really. Cash for Clunkers only took 690,000 vehicles off the road. Before 2004 Ford sold more than 5 million Explorers. Before 2004 more than 2.4 million Jeep Grand Cherokees were sold. And before 2004 Ford sold more than 1.7 million Windstars and Freestars.

            So how could Cash for Clunkers get rid of most of them. Ford sold more F150 each year compared to what that program got rid of.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    Safety does sell nowadays and if somebody could market a vehicle that could withstand a head-on into a semi and still protect the occupants at a decent price I think the populace would stampede to their dealership.

    On the other hand there’s no reason why an informed consumer shouldn’t be allowed to buy a death trap if they know it’s a deathtrap and everybody up front agrees it’s a deathtrap. No suing after the fact, no “I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

    I ride motorcycles so needless to say the idea of getting in a pre-airbag or modern but dangerous fun vehicle doesn’t bother me at all. Let me import whatever I want as long as it meets emission standards.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      The biggest savings in all of this and the biggest and fastest growing expense in this country is healthcare cost, there is no waiver for that, which means that almost every single working person’s premiums would increase yearly (probably exponentially) along with comprehensive car insurance, as lots and lots of people would buy lots and lots of cars with the performance capabilities of a lotus and the safety of a skateboard (not alot of motorcycles because people know they’re dangerous and have no roof (and the people that do ride them usually are aware of those limitations and generally have the abilities to compensate or quickly learn not to ride a motorcycle), start giving people something with four wheels and a roof and alot of common sense goes away, but just because they could sign a waiver for themselves, they can’t sign a waiver for the person they’re colliding with and they can’t sign a waiver for company sponsored health insurance or everyone elses car insurance. So while they can’t sue for mangling themselves, everyone else would still get to pay for it.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    To the extent that the ‘cringing wimps’ expect the government to serve as a safety net, the government has the right/responsibility to regulate safety.

    If you want the government out of your life, then you can’t expect it to underwrite your mistakes.

    But this decision was already made when the New Deal and the Great Society came about; we want the safety nets, and more of them. Sadly, Obamacare is just the next logical step down the same path.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Safety is great, but ugly heavy cars are not.

    Back in the day, cars were heavy because they were HUGE. Now every car is heavier than it should be.

    I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty damned sure that a lighter car with the same engine would get better fuel economy and have less engine stress. But safety regs force cars to be bigger and heavier than they should be and thus hurt fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      In a total laymen’s sense you are right, weight hurts fuel economy. In reality, the added weight in a pre-1980s car was as much lead filler as it was structural steel. Ladder frame construction added weight without rigidity vs. Modern hydro-formed rails. The older cars were as unsafe because of the poor grade steel as they were for hard dashes and weak body control points.

      In the end aerodynamics and weight play a huge factor but so does engine management. We could have cars that get 70-80 MPG that matched real horsepower in the 60s and 0-60 numbers if we wanted. Instead our average family sedan has as much real horsepower as a Mustang KR did in 69.

    • 0 avatar
      justgregit

      Not to mention the fact that part of the reason everyone needs more safety features is that they are getting in accidents with bigger and heavier cars. If cars weighed less then they wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous. Its sort of a game theory problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Dubbed

      Increased safety standards are by no means the only reason or the main reason why cars have gotten heavier and bigger. That is what the market has demanded. The reason why the Civic, the Camry, the Altima, the Rav4 have gotten bigger and heavier is because people wanted bigger cars that are quieter and have more features.

      Safety requirements are not the reason why the Honda Accord went from midsize to fullsize recently. Honda knew that they could probably sell more of that car if it was more spacious. And the cars we have today didn’t just become larger overnight. With each following model the cars became bigger and heavier until we have what’s for sale today.

      Two other examples, Mercedes state that the new S-Class frame and platform are 200 pound give or take lighter but it weighs more due to more features.
      The same is said of the new Corvette. The platform is lighter but increased features and amenities make the new base model heavier than the preceding one.

      Market demand was the largest reason behind the increase in size not safety.

      • 0 avatar
        dpurc1

        Exactly, dubbed. Safety actually has very little to do with cars getting bigger and heavier–or more expensive. How much weight does federally required safety equipment add to a vehicle? I’d have figured at least a few hundred pounds. NHTSA did a teardown study at the end of 2004 to figure out added weight and cost:

        “NHTSA estimates that the FMVSS [Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards] added an average of $839 (in 2002 dollars) and 125 pounds to the average passenger car in model year 2001. Since passenger cars cost an average of $21,217 (in 2002 dollars) and weighed 3,148 pounds in model year 2001, approximately four percent of the cost and four percent of the weight of a new passenger car could be attributed to the FMVSS.”

        Cars are bigger, heavier, and more expensive because people are buying them. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  • avatar
    ash78

    The free market would have eventually adopted seat belts, I suspect. Once media caught up enough to show people the results of non-seatbelts accidents, it wouldn’t have taken much. My grandfather around 1935 watched 4 of his 6 friends die in an accident, while he and another boy walked away. He was a car safety fanatic from then on, even having seatbelts custom added to most of his cars.

    Airbags, however…I’d still fully support non-airbagged cars, provided we received a commensurate discount on both purchase price and insurance rates (airbag repacking can quickly become one of the most expensive elements of a partial loss). Without economic benefit, no deal. But eventually accidents would happen, and the headlines would be akin to “Man trades his family’s lives for $2,000 discount” and the media would have an ethically misguided frenzy.

    With anything — building codes, for example — there are bare minimums that should be met, and those are most frequently the work of government. But if someone wants to go above and beyond, and wants to pay a private service to do testing, then it would probably do wonders to help them sell their products. Think “Good Housekeeping” or “UL Listed” or “BBB Accredited” and so on.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      The UL Seal is more than just a marketing device; it really functions as a private regulator, as few retailers will sell electrical products that do not bear the UL seal. (This helps shield them from liability claims for selling defective products; the store can argue as a defense that the product, via UL standards and testing, met industry safety standards and therefore the retailer was not negligent in selling it.)

      The major difference between the UL and CPSC (besides scope; the CPSC covers all consumer products) is that the UL performs pre-sales testing, the CPSC does not.

    • 0 avatar

      Physical damage premiums would drop if we could have cars without air bags, but the medical payments and injury benefits would either have to be reduced, or the premiums increased. I am told by a major insurer here (Saskatchewan, Canada) that air bags reduce injury payments far more than they increase physical damage payments. Further, because you can cause more injury to people when they don’t have air bags, that makes you potentially legally liable for larger amounts of money, also.

      Of course, some of those payments come about because of the fault of other drivers, but at the end of the day, dead is dead and cars can always be replaced with something.

      • 0 avatar
        mikedt

        I could have sworn I’ve seen studies saying that air bags actually increased medical costs because people are living through accidents and requiring costly medical treatment when before they would have died at the scene.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          From a Monty Python sketch:

          Famous reconstructive surgeon answering the question of the number one impediment to his work:

          “There simply aren’t enough accidents. It’s unethical (and time-consuming) to go out and cause them ourselves…”

          • 0 avatar
            CrapBox

            Last year my girlfriend fell off her bicycle and knocked out three of her teeth. When we visited the dental surgeon, he complained that business was bad because young people no longer took risks cycling or playing contact sports. He was encouraged, however, that violent and damaging bar fights seemed to be on the upswing.

        • 0 avatar
          KitaIkki

          Plus, more drunk and dumb drivers survive accidents, to kill and maim again and again.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            Obvious easy fix – 1 DU (zero tolerance policy, 1 drink = drunk)I, banned from driving for life under threat of life imprisonment if you are ever caught operating a motor vehicle ever again.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      “Airbags, however…I’d still fully support non-airbagged cars, provided we received a commensurate discount on both purchase price and insurance rates (airbag repacking can quickly become one of the most expensive elements of a partial loss).”

      First, why would any insurance company give you a discount on a car without airbags? Are you saying that, in the case of an accident where one or multiple airbags are deployed, the cost of replacing the airbags is GREATER than potential medical bills due to injury?

      Also – airbag repacking…? I didn’t even know that was a thing. Sounds incredibly dangerous.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      “The free market would have eventually adopted seat belts, I suspect”

      It is logical to believe that in a pure free-market world, we would all have the perfect products; however, this is to look past the fundamental drive of a free-market, to make money. Its cheaper to not offer seatbelts and market that your car is safer cause its bigger. Or that safety isn’t sexy. Or that its an unneccessary frivality that consumers will most likely never need as accidents are rare and will never happen to you. And in a totally free-market society, there wouldn’t be a trusted source for anything as everyone would have profit motives, thereby making you question their findings as its just a ploy to get a leg up on the competition.

      Agreed that there needs to be an honest broker in this all to provide a fair and level minimum in which to base the product on. So my blender doesn’t spontaneously combust when I plug it in or my Zoloft doesn’t give me flamming diarrhea that Peter Griffin would be proud of. Most importantly, this broker is the entity that lays out the law that says if you sell these products, they can not be marketed as ‘safe’. America isn’t China where is perfectly legal to adulterate baby formula with melamine and the consumer had no recourse or India where to save some Rupees, we use tainted food to feed our children in need.

      And I’m okay with that.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Your post was sufficiently eloquent I feel only a limited need to addendum. Principally that the free market doesn’t exist on a national scope. Your local car dealership can be affected by individual and collective behavior but when you’re looking at 14 companies that control almost 100% of the 4-wheel transportation market that operate in every region of the planet, they’re beyond our influence.

        Ralph Nader’s book was able to affect the national psyche but he is effectively the exception that proves the rule because recall after recall, massive issues like the Pinto bladder, and other disturbing realizations all haven’t killed a single player. The general fell on hard times more due to styling and fuel economy than any particular issue that could manifest itself. Worse yet, by the time they did start to fall they had corrected the issues thus further deflating the concept.

        There were seat belta offered before the national mandate as a paid option but airbags, high torsion steel, crumple zones, and the rest would have never been created. One need only look at China or other developing nations to see what kind of messy standards are killing citizens there to understand why we need this.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        thank you dolorean

      • 0 avatar
        The Walking Eye

        But that one semester of Econ I took in college told me a free market with lots of competitors would drive costs down and increase product goodness! What am I to think now?

  • avatar
    Sutures

    Wow… Sort-of a reverse “A Nice Morning Drive” (a.k.a. the story on which the song “Red Barchetta” is based…)

  • avatar
    vww12

    «I don’t trust industry and the market to give a crap about the likes of me and mine when there is a dollar to be made at my expense.»

    Industry’s primary loyalty is (as it should be) to its shareholders. Pleasing you and yours is only incidental. Such invisible hand, however, is what gave you affordable oil (Rockefeller), affordable cars (Henry Ford), affordable handheld computers (Steve Jobs), affordable movies (too many to mention), affordable air conditioning, affordable air travel, affordable cruises, etc.

    Part of pleasing you and yours does involve quite a bit of innovation in keeping you and yours alive: Volvo and seat belts; GM and airbags; Daimler-Benz and crush zones; Bosch and ABS and traction control.

    In a free market, consumers would be intelligent in choosing those brands that keep them alive.

    In the non-free market, consumers can be brain-dead and focus on what has low or no down payment this weekend. Lowest common denominator prevails.

    • 0 avatar
      marc

      “In a free market, consumers would be intelligent in choosing those brands that keep them alive.”

      Nope, in the free market, that just doesn’t happen. I know you wish it would, but that just isn’t the case. We see this in every unregulated country, industry, time period.

      Are you really trying to say that it is ok for an industry to have a safe and an unsafe prodct, and it is up to the educated, affluent consumer to choose and pay more for? Cuz that’s not a world I want to live in.

      • 0 avatar
        vww12

        Actually, one does not need to be educated to choose. People should be free to choose.

        Some will choose Volvos.

        Others may choose Ford Pintos. Or Cadillac Escalades.

        And that is good. Each person should be free to choose.

        Or you can ask your friendly kommissar to choose for you. It’s been done before, did not turn well. Ask the Soviets, ask Detroit, ask Chrysler and ask GM.

        • 0 avatar
          marc

          Thank you for proving my point vwww12. Not eveyone can afford a Volvo. And people bought pintos that a manufacturer sold as unsafe, even though said mfr knew them to be unsafe while the buyers did not, and the mfr was not regulated enough to force the issue.

          I’m really offended by the laissez faire attitude that people, through either poor choices or because they are poor, should be forced into inferior, unsafe products. That sounds more like a decison that der kommissar might have made. Surely a civilized country such as ours can do better.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            The alternative isn’t superior, safe products for poor people. It’s watching other people use the product because you can’t afford one.

            The historically blind view that as a briefly comfortable, first-world country, we will always be a comfortable, first-world country and are now exempt from the basic rules of economics and can work on fuzzy warm social justice instead scares the hell out of me. Argentina is closer than you think.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “…or because they are poor, should be forced into inferior, unsafe products.”

            What makes you think low income people can afford a new car?

            It’s awesome you live somewhere that everyone has $11K to spend, but that’s hardly true everywhere.

            The poor are going to be driving that ’92 Camry that down thread you implied had unacceptable safety.

            Meanwhile, new vehicles become beastly, multi-ton tanks, ensuring that you will liquefy anyone unlucky enough to be owning an older vehicle when you smash into them.

            Safety regulations ensure that the occupants of the vehicle are safe. They don’t care much that your Tundra Crewmax will splay a Sunfire in two.

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            Maybe a poor buyer can afford a 2 year old Versa that is safer than that 92 Camry. Better that than continually bulding safe cars for rich folks and death traps for poor folks.

          • 0 avatar
            KitaIkki

            Again, something being “mandated” doesn’t mean it’s free. There is no free lunch. Car companies are not charities. Mandating something doesn’t make it more affordable, it just forces everyone to pay for it, whether they want it or not. Mandating airbags (for example) just means the price of the car is raised to pay for it. That may be a minor expense for the “rich” but could very well make the new car unaffordable to the “poor.” How does that help the poor? How is forcing the poor to continue driving his bag-less old car instead of trading into a still bag-less, but otherwise much safer and cleaner new car help anybody?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Better that than continually bulding safe cars for rich folks and death traps for poor folks.”

            But that’s the exact system we have right now anyway. Poor folks drive the used Accent or Century, rich folks get the 5000lb 500 horsepower battering ram of death- which are now safer than ever. The people in the middle get something that meets standards can hopefully survive a hit in the continuing arms race.

            Maybe in 2024 that 2013 Versa will still be safe against whatever we’re driving, but you said yourself “You just don’t know what safety advances could be out there. ”

            I don’t really have anything against safety standards, but I think it’s wrong to generalize that they come from a place of great altruism or that they help the poor.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            Re KitaIkki:

            There is no such thing as a free lunch, but on cheap cars the mandated safety features fall massively on the manufacturers. On a cheap car like a Versa a side impact airbag system that costs $50 would be a separate $500 option. But instead it has to included, and Nissan either eats the cost or increases the price of the car $50 so that it can keep the competitive base price.

            The teaser price still does not include, for example, power windows for $1,000, but the buyers stingy enough to go without power windows are still getting side airbags basically for free, and the people choosing power windows for $1,000 are giving Nissan a $1,000 profit bump (since the power windows probably cost nothing compared to a very mechanically complex crank system) to make up for either a loss or no profit on the side airbags.

          • 0 avatar
            KitaIkki

            Most of the mandated safety features we have today, from airbags to ABS, TCS, VSA and other alphabet soup electronic aids, weren’t mandated prior to 1990 or so. Were food and drinks poisonous, electrical cords shocking before 1990? Even if we remove all the new, costly mandates, we are talking 1990 standards (when cars were lighter, better looking, with a cab you can see out of), not the stone age.

          • 0 avatar
            KitaIkki

            Re: Racer-esq

            Granted there may be some economy-of-scale cost reduction by forcing every car to have the same set of features, but the increasingly costly safety mandates still make cheaper cars relatively much more costly. A $2000 mandated safety package turns a $9,000 car into a $11,000 car, which hits those who can least afford it the hardest, while the same $2000 price increase is comparatively minor on a $60,000 car. Most good intentioned ideas to “help” the poor end up hurting them the most.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Even if we think of the IIHS as a “market solution” to the safety issue, I’m not sure how a private de facto regulator is really that much different in practice from a government one.

    • 0 avatar
      The Walking Eye

      Don’t you know that government regulation to influence behavior is evil, but private entities doing the same is glorious?

      It all depends on your mindset on gov’t and private industry. I think they should work together with gov’t ensuring the public is protected.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    The problem may partly be regulations, but there’s also the fact that we’re a litigious society. Having FMVSS regulations (or whatever the actual laws are called) allows carmakers to assert that their products have met a government mandate, and so if you die while using their product, they were at least engineered to a standard for safety. If you remove this, or make it optional, lawsuits will sprout up like weeds.

  • avatar
    99GT4.6

    Im ok with some mandated safety features to ensure we aren’t sold rolling deathtraps. Seat belts and airbags are ok but a lot of the new “features” being mandated now go way too far and add way too much to the cost of a car. ABS, ESC, Traction control all are not needed. Way too many people use these systems as a substitute for knowing how to drive properly. The ABS and traction control in my car doesn’t work (it’s not that it doesn’t work well, it’s literally broken) and it never had esc. Is it unsafe? No. I know how to vary the pressure on the break pedal to not lock up the tires and not be stupid with the gas pedal so I don’t need traction control. Im even hearing that backup cameras may become mandatory. Why the hell did people too lazy/stupid to look out the back window when reversing? I also hate lane departure warnings, auto braking or whatever that crap is called, and all the other stuff that tries to replace knowing how to drive correctly.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      ESC has proven to be as effective as seatbelts in reducing fatalities. If you have issue with a car without seatbelts how can you not have an issue with a car without ESC?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        ESC?

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          Electronic Stability Control

        • 0 avatar
          Jellodyne

          aka stability control — where the car uses the abs sensors and the individual brakes to keep the car from skidding out of control, and can also prevent resulting rollovers. And it is amazing stuff. I can see where people complain about it (and why people complain about ABS), but it really does save lives. I have no problem with traction control which can be fully disabled with a switch, or with non-defeatable ABS and ESC.

          • 0 avatar
            99GT4.6

            My biggest beef with ESC is when it can’t be fully turned off (like when I want to do doughnuts or slide in an empty parking lot and it won’t let me) and when idiots drive way too fast for road conditions because they think the computer will save them every time. If I’m coming up to a highway offramp and the road is wet I slow down. No ESC needed. If the road is icy than I don’t take corners or change lanes really fast.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “If the road is icy than I don’t take corners or change lanes really fast.”

            And when some 16yo swerves into your lane on that icy road – how do you not change lanes quickly and still avoid her?

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Too bad you and Pablo Montoya aren’t the only legal drivers on the road. When ever I hear this argument I want to crack somebody across the skull. It always some inane remark about a clear advancement is unneeded because they’re an above average specimen and can perform at a superior level at all times. I love ABS, I’ve panic stopped maybe 3 times in the last 15 years of driving but ABS saved me every time. ESC is amazing in tight maneuvers or when you should have zigged instead of zagged.

      Just because your macho doesn’t mean I want you to kill me when you screw up.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        exactly, it’s not just the regulations of our own vehicle, but the regualtions in others’ vehicles, and our regulated vehicles that also protect us from others’ lousy driving. Ah, but that world of bad drivers, snowstorms and busy intersetions doesn’t exist in internet-landia.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      “ABS, ESC, Traction control all are not needed…The ABS and traction control in my car doesn’t work (it’s not that it doesn’t work well, it’s literally broken) and it never had esc. Is it unsafe? No. I know how to vary the pressure on the break pedal to not lock up the tires and not be stupid with the gas pedal so I don’t need traction control.”

      You should absolutely get your ABS fixed. Puff your chest all you want, but there is no denying that a working ABS and/or ESC system will ALWAYS perform better than a human in emergency situations. I can come up with a million reasons why it’s a horrible idea to delete ABS on a street car and precisely 0 reasons why it’s a good idea.

      Your Mustang GT was fitted with ABS from the factory. If only your insurance company knew that all of a sudden it didn’t have ABS, or God forbid you ever lock your brakes and seriously injure yourself or someone else. All because you didn’t need ABS because you “know how to vary pressure on the brake pedal”.

      • 0 avatar
        The Walking Eye

        And what happens in an emergency situation?

        Let’s say someone cuts off Mr. Wonderful Brake Man and slams on their brakes. Does his ability to “vary the pressure on the brake pedal” prevent his brakes locking up when some a-hole creates an emergency directly in front of him?

        You could be lucky and never have that happen, or you could have a back-up for your clearly superior driving ability.

        Why are people so pissy about a redundant/back-up system on something they drive every day and are fine with a plane having multiple redundant systems? I never hear a pilot bitch about how gov’t regulations are a pox on freedom.

    • 0 avatar
      justgregit

      While I understand the argument that this leads to lazier drivers (maybe it does maybe it doesn’t, I’m sure there were lots of bad drivers before these features), I would argue that these are the features that are most necessary, as they are more likely to keep other people from hitting me.

      If people don’t want airbags in their car, then they are only putting themselves at risk (and their passengers). When people forgo traction control/ABS/etc (or fail to replace tires, or do basic maintenance, etc)it adds danger to everyone else as they are more likely to hit you.

      I’m sort of on the fence about the safety regulations. I think they are out of hand here, but I think there are advantages to things that keep other drivers from hitting me. I don’t think most people would stop playing Candy Crush while driving just because their car was more dangerous…

  • avatar
    jmo

    ” “I’d happily sign whatever paperwork necessary exempting myself (and my heirs) from personal injury lawsuits, or whatever other crap the lawyers can come up with, to own one. ”

    1. IIRC, you can’t sign away the legal rights of your minor children.

    2. The free market response to the need for regulation is that these things are better left up to civil lawsuits. So, rather than NHTSA, the market solution would be to have Ford, Toyota etc. subject to whatever outrageous judgements some slick country lawyer in rural LA could convince a jury to award.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      What exactly is free market about the insanely expensive, unlimited fishing expedition version of discovery allowed in FRCP? About 20:1 punitive damages?

      If it happens in a courtroom and isn’t about breach of contract it isn’t free market at all.

  • avatar
    marc

    In what idealistic Ayn Rand world do some of you live in, where you really believe that the market will fix everything? The market will not create clean air, drinkable water or safe cars. It didn’t. It won’t. Let me repeat… THE FREE MARKET DID NOT CREATE THOSE THINGS. Regulation did.

    The invisible hand is greedy. It has one goal. Make money.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re incorrect. Proper capitalism is about value adding and being paid for these efforts. While greed can run wild, it’s unfair to call this pure capitalism. Just like calling the USSR pure socialism. You place a high value on your ideals but in the process you deny the ideals of those around you.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        thankfully we don’t have pure capitalism. hence the subject at hand.

        And i’m not some idealist. More of a pragmatist. The pragmatist looks at the research, sees that safety regulations have resulted in safer cars, and defends a pretty easily defensible position.

        The idealists here are saying, “I’m a great driver, I don’t need no stinkin regualtions,” or “It’s my right to drive whatever I feel like, others be damned,” or “Anyone can be safe, in a cpaitalist society we all have choice. Go ahead and drive your Pinto that you chose instead of the Mercedes you could have chosen.” Those are idealists.

        • 0 avatar

          I (and most posters) aren’t opposed to some regulation. For instance I think my car should be safe in the sense that it should have good tires, brakes, and generally the items included in many states safety inspections. However, the survive-ability in an accident should entirely be buyers choice. I don’t believe regulations should be in place to protect us from ourselves, and this includes deciding to drive a car that will kill us if someone hits us.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The clean air and water was already there before we invented the first economies.

      Anyway, free market capitalism can and does work to clean the air and water when it is needed. There are many corporate sponsored clean up efforts. These aren’t mandated. In fact, I participated in one a few weeks ago where we spent a few days cleaning up and repairing parks and alleyways in a low income neighborhood. There are many many other efforts that take place throughout the year as well.

      No regulation forced this, it was consumer demand. Customers want to patronize a company that does good for the community and cares about the environment. The fact is the consumer market always drives the standard at which corporations are to be held, the difference being a legislative approach (which might help the problem, but also hurts consumers) or the free market approach (the company is forced to pay for any damages they caused via tort, consumers then don’t buy from that company and they either reform or go out of business, of little consequence to consumers).

      • 0 avatar
        The Walking Eye

        “The clean air and water was there…”

        Oh, good lord. And then we had the Industrial Revolution followed by decades of companies dumping their waste into the rivers, lakes, oceans, and groundwaters of America. We used to believe that dumping raw sewage into our water was ok. I honestly have no idea what you’re getting at with that statement.

        Re: Corporate sponsored clean-ups

        There’s a big difference between what you described and cleaning up the decades of hazardous wastes being dumped into the environment. Your “clean-up efforts” are purely PR stunts, not to say it’s not helpful.

        When you see a company voluntarily clean-up a river or lake, let me know. I’ve yet to see it.

  • avatar
    Ron

    A few random thoughts:

    1) Due to economies of scale, mandating a piece of safety equipment rapidly brings down the cost. Early airbags cost well over $600 apiece. Now they cost under $30.

    2) It is unrealistic to expect a passenger to quiz a driver on whether he or she “opted out” of safety equipment, putting the passenger at risk.

    3) Mandating safety equipment gives most people a larger choice. When I bought my first car, I was forced to buy a Volvo 140, as it was the only model offered with a standard seat belt.

    4) Safety equipment adds far less to the weight of a car than is assumed in some of the comments. Yes, I don’t care for the three-inch-thick A pillars. But do you remember the 18-inch-wide C pillars of the malaise era?

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Well if not for enhanced crash bracing and 20 airbags, then why would a compact weigh over 3000 pounds? I don’t see where the weight would come in otherwise, electronics don’t weigh THAT much.

      • 0 avatar
        stryker1

        Compacts aren’t.
        Cars have gotten a heck of a lot bigger, in addition to the new safety features. That probably accounts for a lot of the weight.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        The bigger question, is why are you so upset that a compact weighs 3000 lbs? Why is that so bad? People’s lives have been saved thanks to that 3000 lbs. Isn’t that enough of a justification for it?

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          The heavier a car is, the harder the engine has to work to keep the car moving and the more fuel economy suffers. Installing 1.4 turbos in 3300 pound cars just doesn’t really work as well as the automakers want it to, you have to use creative gearing to make up for the undersized powerplant.

          Hence the 8-speed Dart and CVT Nissans.

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        Compact cars are also much bigger than they used to be, to the point where they aren’t really compact any more. But, some of the extra weight is to prevent the car from caving in and crushing it’s occupants, yes.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Well, the 17+ inch wheels and giant center consoles that come on just about every car these days certainly doesn’t help weight.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The miles of wire in a modern computer controlled car do add up to a significant amount of weight. Of course there is also all the extra wiring for things like seat heaters, power windows, defrosters ect. The “original” compacts (Falcon, Valiant, Corvair) did weigh in the 2500+ range.

    • 0 avatar
      Lt.BrunoStachel

      @Ron “1) Due to economies of scale, mandating a piece of safety equipment rapidly brings down the cost. Early airbags cost well over $600 apiece. Now they cost under $30.”

      Huh? Airbags still cost $600! Not sure where you get your information from but I can tell you dont work on cars for a living. And no, they don’t add $30 to the cost of a car if that is what you meant to write.

      “4) Safety equipment adds far less to the weight of a car than is assumed in some of the comments. Yes, I don’t care for the three-inch-thick A pillars. But do you remember the 18-inch-wide C pillars of the malaise era?”

      Kind of agree. SIR does add some weight but what most people forget is the other junk that is loaded onto a car as “standard” equipment. Like power seats and windows. But IMHO the number one offender of weight are the gianormus wheels that are on todays compacts. Remember years ago when 12″ wheels were the only size you could get on a Geo Metro or Tercel? 13″ wheels were the standard. Now the minimum is most likely a 16″ and thats about to become obsolete in the coming years. It might not neccessarily be the weight of an alloy wheel but the damn rubber aint exactly light by any standards today.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I don’t think most people these days would be interested in cars stripped of all the latest safety features, but there should be an easier way for enthusiasts to import unique vehicles like the Cappucino without the ridiculous red tape of multiple federal and state agencies.

  • avatar
    Frankie the Hollywood Scum

    Years ago Peter Egan once floated the idea of a acknowledgment and acceptance of increased risk as The Honorable Order of the Red Card. It was a good read if you have access to his old Side Glances columns.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    The only reason I’m here is because of the laws and regulations you speak of, the seatbelt law, number one, and the shear mass of the classic Lincoln Town Car I was driving when a semi ran me over. At what point do we decide that cars are “safe enough”?… That’s a judgement call I can’t make

  • avatar
    gasser

    All this will work, as long as there are no tax supported county hospitals and no government mandates for private hospitals to care for all the newly created crash victims who will
    require long term and expensive supportive care.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Safety is, to me, very important. I feel it drives innovation and do not agree that cars are worse off as a result.
    As to an entity or institution for safety & testing, I like the idea of independent and not for profit. Something that is mandated by government but not controlled by government. This institution provides transparent crash test data and safety analysis of all vehicles on the market. So, anyone can sell what ever car they want, but importantly, the crash test results must be available to the public.
    Government regulations should really revolve around how roadworthy the car is. The type of stuff that affects other road users, things like lights and flickers etc.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      ” I like the idea of independent and not for profit.”

      How would it be funded?

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        I deliberately did not comment on funding for two reasons. One is that is a bit of a can of worms and second it was not in the spirit of my comments. I wanted to focus on how an independent, impartial organization could benefit consumers and ultimately the motor industry with transparent crash test data. The benefits being continual improvement in crash safety design and essentially unlimited choice of products.
        The best way to fund it would be to take funding from all parties in the game but you are welcome to make other suggestions.

    • 0 avatar
      Dubbed

      There is such an organization. The National Institute for Highway Safety. It is a private organization funded by insurance companies, who are often on the hook for the medical cost steming from accidents.

      They are not involved with the government and they chose to have higher testing standards than the NHTSB.

  • avatar
    marc

    I guess my last comment went to moderation land. Was it because I involed the name of Ms. Rand? Or because I put in caps “the free market didn’t fix those things.”

    So let me try again. Free markets don’t give us drinkable water, clean air, safe cars, safe food, safe working conditions. They never have. Regulations have given us those things. Free markets make money. For their owners. That’s the job of the free market. The invisble hand exists to make money, not to make people’s lives better.

    None of you would have your children go back to squallid city streets, poisonous water, 12 hour factory workdays, cancerous air death-trap ’59 Impalas (one of my favorite all time cars, btw). None of you.

    But you want your unregulated car, because in the fantasy world of the internets, that regulation-free car is the one thing that will bring you true happiness, since all these commie cars we are saddled with have made our lives miserable. Gimme a break.

    • 0 avatar

      Try not to let it upset you. I understand the automatic spam filter has been a little flakey lately. I’ve even had some of my comments come up missing. It’s nothing personal – I don’t have the permissions to shake it loose or I would.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      Heh.
      This.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Great comment!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “The invisble hand exists to make money, not to make people’s lives better.”

      The two go hand in hand. Regulation does not make people’s lives better, it makes it worse by applying blanket rules that don’t necessarily improve anything themselves, yet have significant cost.

      Consumer demand drives the improvements in consumer goods, there are countless safety features that were designed and implemented LONG before they were ever mandated. Regulation just arrives once the problem solving underway, a day late and a dollar short.

      Politicians and their state worshipers sure don’t have any problem stealing the credit, however.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        Companies inovate. That’s a grart thing. And big mean old commie gubmint regulations sure haven’t stopped that innovation. But consumer demand has not been sufficient to force manufacturers to provide ALL cars with the wide variety of safety features that we now take for granted. You have a blind faith that capitalist corporations will always choose the better path, as if that always leads to greater profits. Ford did not choose the better path with its Pintos and Explorers. It cranked out as many as it could in the hopes of maximizing profits, even at the expense of lives.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “You have a blind faith that capitalist corporations will always choose the better path”.

          No, I don’t have blind faith in corporations. What I do have faith in is that those responsible for legitimate wrong doing will be held responsible for their actions. We already had laws in place to deal with that.

          Extra regulation forcing equipment into all cars just forces all consumers to bear the weight of the mistakes of the few.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    When everything is too easy, it’s too easy to complain about everything.

    Cars are more than safe enough; we’re at the point where currently, the debate rages over whether or not we even need to pay attention while we drive them. We’ve reduced the level of skill necessary to operate incredibly dangerous machines so that a toddler can do it.

    Instead of building ourselves rolling vaults to be protected from negligence, we should be aiming to instill a sense of what that negligence can cause. In my perfect world, we’d do this with lighter cars, and more obvious consequences.

    Fat chance.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      Your perfect world sounds great. I’m sure dumb (read: all) teenagers will be kicking themselves after they’re dead because they misjudged a slick road, and their parents decided to opt out of the air-bag. That’ll teach em… something, I’m sure.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        For a long time, teenagers drove cars without airbags. Some survived.

        Drive a new Camry and an MGB back to back. Tell me which one makes you feel like you’re doing something that requires care and concentration.

        • 0 avatar
          marc

          I’ll take the Camry for my 20,000 monotonuos, mind-numbing miles a year, and the MGB for a (careful) Sunday drive to the beach.

        • 0 avatar
          stryker1

          This line of thinking sounds a lot like abstinence-only sex education. That somehow, if the consequences can be made bad enough, people will shape up and fly right. Sounds good, but doesn’t work. All you’ll get are more STDs, and unwanted pregnancies in one case, and mangled drivers in the other.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            That analogy is good and bad; I agree that my ideas don’t quite square up with what’s possible in the real world (and I admitted as much,) but at the same time, I’ll keep digging and say that if you’re not smart enough to put a hat on, you deserve what you get. Drive too fast for conditions, death may result.

            Of course, accidents happen, but they always will. I’m not willing to give up as much as I am being asked for such a rare event. I’m also not very risk-averse, so I don’t expect many to agree. I would just like the option of less protection.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      You do realize that for most people driving is a chore, right? Your argument is that somehow were not enjoying or being responsible enough for an activity we’re forced to do. We (B&B) we enjoy cars and driving. But I would much prefer to be flying around a track in a MG or Sprite than driving through suburbia. If I could hand off duties to a computer so I could read, sleep, watch TV, grade papers I would.

      The mentality you have seems unfeasible with the reality you live in. Might I suggest a desert island and a Robinson Caruso lifestyle?

  • avatar

    I have what I think is a great idea for a compromise. How about a different class of vehicle that is not permited on interstates or roads with speed limits above 55 mph. I would also love to see more options for home-built autos in such a class. Here in Pennsylvania I think I’ve found a slight loophole (class of vehicle in state code) for a vehicle under 5hp. Now just to iron out the engineering specifics of my modern horseless carriage.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      They’re thinking about doing that type of thing on some of the tollways around Chicago. They want to build ultra-express lanes which would allow certain “road-worthy” cars to travel at a much higher speed at about triple the current toll

  • avatar
    Boff

    Exemptions are a good idea. The Brits have auto safety regulations, but you can still drive your Radical to Tesco to buy lamb chops.

  • avatar
    Roader

    Car insurance companies could be the regulator. I get some percentage discount now because my car has air bags. If the feds were to get out of the car safety regulation business then the insurance companies would fund one or more UL-like private/non-profit car safety testing companies. Those non-profits would rate car safety, as Consumer Reports does now to a small extent, and car insurers would charge rates according to how the car rated by their testing company. Under such a regime some cars couldn’t be insured at all; only self insured.

    The problem with government testing agencies is regulatory capture by lobbyists of the big car companies. They pay their lobbyists and congresscritters to set regulations how they want them, eliminating potential competitors.

    The difference between government regulators and insurance company-funded private car testing agencies is force: government regulators use force in the form of criminal (and civil) liability to regulate. Private car testing agencies of course would only be subject to civil liability.

    I suspect that for the most part car safety features would be little changed from what they are now, although there’d be more very small cars with much smaller crumple zones.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Car insurance companies could be the regulator.”

      They already are in a big way. Insurance companies consider fatality statistics of a given model when they rate it. It’s a big reason why some cars cost more to insure than others, independent of the actual value of the vehicle and driver being rated.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    I believe that when the passenger air bags (no not the Washington bureaucrats)were made optional the take rate was very low. I also think this option (ford?) was pretty pricy for the time-like $900. So when asked if a particular safety device was worth the money the car buying public said, “meh”.

    I also remember almost getting strangled when trying to open my 1988 Camry door to spit and getting my hat and glasses knocked off-the dastardly automatic seat belts. Compared to these contraptions, the public was begging for air bags to get rid of those stupid things. Plus, you still had to buckle the lap belt.

    My grandmother had an early 70′s (1974?) Pinto. This was a vehicle that you had to be buckled up for it to start and keep the belt played out to prevent nanny buzzers. I remember her getting in, pulling the belt out some without buckling, lifting her butt off the seat to start the car and holding the belt in one hand to keep it quiet while she drove. Somehow I do not think this is what NHSTA had in mind.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    The short answer to the original question is yes, the government should have a role in setting safety standards. The question becomes, how much of a role?

    We are long past the point where the the big gains in safety have been made through things like seatbelts, crumple zones, rollover regs and the like. Now the regulators are left with the margins of error to work with. Vehicles today – at least in the first world – are as safe as they’ve ever been.

    I would prefer that regulators “declare victory”, freeze the current vehicle safety standards where they are today, and refocus their attention on improving roadway standards; road bed materials, traffic flow and roadway design, signage, and the like, and on driver training standards.

    • 0 avatar
      marc

      I’m afraid you probably would have made this same argument 10 years ago. I sure felt safe in a ’92 Camry. You just don’t know what safety advances could be out there. Compared to today’s cars, in which back seat would you place your (hypothetical?) 3 year old daughter? Which vehicle would you trust your 16 year old son to drive?

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        I recently took a ride in a 1928 Ford Trimotor airplane. The first thing people asked me when I got back was if I was scared. Of course I wasn’t scared. I considered the risks and determined that 1)a Ford Trimotor is a stout aircraft with a stall speed equal to that of the prevailing winds that day and 2) that if they were traveling around the country with the plane it was probably in pretty good nick. I calculate risks, I don’t live in fear of what might happen.

        I’m not a good person to use this argument on. I have a 3 year-old daughter and I personally wouldn’t have had a problem putting her into the back of my ’68 VW Fastback if I still had it. My 18 year-old new driver nephew drives a ’92 Lumina coupe. My statement is base on statistics, not on my personal anecdotal experience. Fatalities per 100 million miles driven have been going down since the 60′s, but the safety gains are becoming less and less with the addition of each new safety device. At some point the only way to make driving safer is to ban it.

        • 0 avatar
          marc

          I’m calling BS here. I simply can’t believe that it really doesn’t occur to you that no matter how good you are as a driver, your daughter is less safe in the back of that VW than in a new car. If for no other reason than if some other lousy driver hits that tin can. Come on.

          And again I ask, where’s the cut-off? When did the feds over-reach? Seatbelts? Airbags? Crumple zones? Stability control? ABS? I trust NHTSA a whole lot more than someone who thinks his daughter is safe in the back of a ’68 VW.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            I’m not arguing for zero regulation. In fact, far from it. My argument is that the current regulations have had their intended effect and that we’ve hit the point of diminished returns. You’ll never eliminate fatal road accidents and there are greater gains to be made in other areas, such as road design.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Poorly thought through signs are the bane of my life…

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I think you’ve hit on the nub of the problem. Government is not self-correcting. Marketplace actors are, because the marketplace disciplines if they go too far. Regarding seatbelts, I suppose I’m the exception. The first car that my father bought that had seatbelts in it was a 1963 Chevrolet (front seat lapbelts only). He insisted that everyone wear them, including me, when I was driving. So, I got into the habit and actually liked the fact that the seat belt kept you from sliding around on the front bench seat while you were practicing extreme maneuvers. When I first drove a Volvo with its 3-point belt (a P1800) I thought they were great. It took at least a decade before American cars had 3-point belts that were as effective or easy to use.

      But government regulators are like sharks: if they don’t eat, they die. So, for example, we have increasingly stringent fuel economy standards when, as a mathematical certainty, the cost (fuel) savings between a 30 mpg car and a 40 mpg car are small, and much less than the savings between a 20 mpg car and a 30 mpg car, everything else being equal. So, we are now spending a lot of money to achieve these incremental improvements, with things like electric-driven everything (as opposed to belt- or hydraulic driven) combined with an “intelligent” alternator that really bites in to generate the amps when the car is coasting . . . all in the goal of minimizing parasitic loads on the engine. This stuff (electric oil pumps, steering, a/c) provides no independent benefit of its own (and electric-assisted power steering so far, seems to be worse) as well as costing more money to build and more money to maintain and repair when it malfunctions. Just see how much fun and expense it is to replace your battery in one of these cars — like BMW — with an “intelligent alternator.” It’s not that the battery is more expensive, but you need a skilled mechanic with access to a bunch of proprietary equipment to re-calibrate the system to the new battery.

      Our government friends operate on the principle that, if some is good, more is better. And there is absolutely no restraint on this behavior, or an even an attempt — for example with fuel economy standards — to do any kind of cost/benefit calculation. And by “friends” I mean both legislators and administrative agency people.

      But, we’re all going to pay for this. So, one of the things that means is that, at the margin, poorer people aren’t going to be able to afford new cars. They’re going to be driving used cars, in potentially dubious condition of repair, because that’s all they can afford.

      Yes, I would agree that 3-point belts and airbags are good, that ABS is good and that drivetrain advances like GDI, variable valve timing and lift, electronic engine management, multispeed automatic trannies are good.

      But, we’re not going to stop there. Instead, we’re going to apply electronic band-aids for inherent vehicle design problems, like the instability of SUVs and other high COG vehicles, which should not be driven like cars, but are. So we have mandatory VSC to try and keep them right side up. Or, like the design of both SUVs and even cars which prevents the driver from seeing the back end of the vehicle (so we may mandate a backup camera, which means that, when the driver is backing up, he’s either not looking at where he’s going (except through the camera) or he still doesn’t know where the back of his car is.

      That’s my beef with regulation. “Enough already” are two words missing from the regulator’s vocabulary. And consumers pay the price; they don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        “Government is not self-correcting. Marketplace actors are”
        The marketplace has not proven itself as the corrector when things go wrong in the direction of the consumer, unless it helps their bottom line, or until the givernment intervenes. (see: Ford Firestone, Pinto fires)

        “as a mathematical certainty, the cost (fuel) savings between a 30 mpg car and a 40 mpg car are small, and much less than the savings between a 20 mpg car and a 30 mpg car, everything else being equal.”
        Fuel economy standards are meant to address both extremes, helping lift the Prius to 60 or 75 mpg and the F150 to 25 or so mpg. Is there a better way to do so than CAFE? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t count on the OEMs by themselves coming up with it.

        “provides no independent benefit of its own (and electric-assisted power steering so far, seems to be worse) as well as costing more money to build and more money to maintain and repair when it malfunctions.”
        That’s very Luddite-ish, so for that matter we should all drive crank starting Model T’s. Progress is complicated. But it sure has benefits.

        “And there is absolutely no restraint on this behavior, or an even an attempt — for example with fuel economy standards — to do any kind of cost/benefit calculation.”
        There’s little basis here for such a blanket statement. I am sure plenty of research goes into the worthiness of new standards. I really don’t think NHTSA is made up of a bunch of pontificators just blowing smoke up our a$$es.

        “poorer people aren’t going to be able to afford new cars”
        But the 2 year old used car that they can afford will still be much safer than the cheap Chinese knock-off that the OEM would try to sell them if no standards were in place.

        “So we have mandatory VSC to try and keep them right side up.”
        Yep, because drivers are bad in the real world. They really are truly bad. Doesn’t mean they deserve to die or endanger someone else.

        “Enough already”
        Is it enough? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year
        What number of fatalaties was reached when it finally became enough?

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          Yes, it is enough. The difference come from looking at the micro instead of the macro.

          In a country of roughly 314,000,000 people that drives hundreds of billions of miles each year, 25,580 highway deaths is .0082% of the population. Every one of those deaths is a tragedy for someone, but in the macro, where safety standards are developed and laws written, we are safe enough.

          • 0 avatar
            Dubbed

            Why should deaths be the only measure of vehicle safety. Injuries themselves can be and are expensive and life altering. I know a good deal many of us don’t bear or are aware of the true cost monetary because of insurance.

            But if these incremental increases in vehicle safety means that I won’t become paraplegic or lose a foot, or don’t have to spend months in reham, that alternative looks a lot better. Especially if only costs me a few extra hundred dollars in cost or a few thousand over the course if my lifetime.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            @Dubbed, the safety gains that keep people from dying are most likely the same safety gains that are going to keep people from being injured or maimed, since the difference between injury and death in an auto accident is often measured in degrees of some variable (speed, angle of impact, whether there was a rollover, etc.).

            I think Deaths is the common measurement for these purposes because it is the one constant that we can use for comparing data over decades. We may have gotten more detail oriented over the decades, but dead is dead regardless of time frame.

  • avatar
    portablenuke

    One of the problems with some safety standards is that they specify solutions rather then results.

    It doesn’t matter if there is a better technology then airbags. New cars have to come with airbags because it’s required by law, and there is no wiggle room there. This impedes innovation.

    Specifying 20% less head trauma due to steering wheels would allow different technologies to be used, and the public could pick the one that they like. (Discounting the marketing campaigns of the technologies.)

    However I don’t subscribe to the “goodness of corporations” argument either. The name of the game is profit, and a few people dying is a small price to pay for a better earnings report. I’m just thought of the part in Fight Club where Jack is explaining there is an equation for determining if a recall should be issued, and the SNL “Bag o’ Glass” skit comes to mind. . :)

    The role of government is to find a balance between citizens and industry. Part of that balance is coming up with a way to make sure companies don’t produce products that are harmful to consumers.

    • 0 avatar
      marc

      Good points, though the feds have used the reults not solutions standard to lesser success. Example-carmakers could use airbags or motorized belts. We all know how that turned out. Sometimes the solution is just so clear, but industry still needs to be prodded to make it standard.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      If someone comes up with a more effective solution than airbags I am fairly certain the laws would change so I do not agree that the law is what will restrict innovation. Laws are a result of innovation, in this case.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I consider myself a centrist with a bit of a libertarian bent who strongly supports rational laws designed to promote and improve business as I frequently see what happens when regulations run amok.

    But when issues like rust on Thomas’ minivan occur (a vehicle primarily used to transport families) pop up, I’m glad there is a regulator to thump skulls and take some action.

    Government isn’t a solution to everything, though. My parents at one point owned a Chevy Venture – which did so abysmally poor in the IIHS’s offset crash test the dummy’s metal leg SNAPPED. How GM could sell to the public a family vehicle that performed so much worse than its peers is beyond me. They traded it in for a Volvo once the IIHS tests were publicized.

    The fertilizer plant explosion in Texas also illustrates what happens when regulations sway too far in the other direction. Texas had minimal oversight and low insurance ($1MM) requirements for these kinds of facilities. Another state has low regulations of these plants but really high insurance requirements (can’t seem to find the article) and has a much better safety record simply because the insurers make taking precautions a condition of coverage. To me, that is an example of sensible oversight because it provides the best of both worlds – no stifling and slow moving bureaucracy but does plenty to protect the public.

    For cars, I think if insurers did a better job of publicizing injury and fatality data for various makes and models and highlighted the higher premium one would have to pay to drive something that performs poorly, the market would start regulating itself. They’d need to find a way to tease out differences in drivers from the overall data, but I’m sure it could be done.

  • avatar
    justgregit

    Generally speaking, I’m okay with safety regulations, and yet I find myself somewhat on the fence regarding this issue. The main reason is just that many times this becomes an import barrier. I think there needs to be more international standards for automotive safety. I.e., if a car is deemed safe in Japan and/or EU (or Canada!) then it should be allowed for import without needing to do the crash testing and everything else. I think to some extent some of these safety requirements are really just to keep competition off the road, so some sort of international agreement would be optimal, in which safety standards are standardized across the major developed markets. I feel like if its safe enough for Germany, it should definitely be safe enough for the US. I mean seriously, people are trying to argue that in countries (like Japan) are safety concerned enough to not let you own a gun, but when it comes to automotives they are totally laissez faire? That seems ridiculous.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    The starting point for vehicle regulations is that they are not a regulation on what you can own, like drug laws, which allow dirty militarized cops to violate your private residence on a tip from a bad informant.

    They are just a regulation on what you can drive on public roads.

    And they are not purely paternalistic, a strong part of the vehicle regulations is to prevent externalities in terms of uninsured motorists putting a burden on the healthcare system, preventing other drivers from hitting you (e.g. ESC), and I would even mention kids not having a choice of what they are carried in.

    And cars that meet all the US standards are available starting at about $11,000.

    But there should be a way to get a kei sports car for use on the weekends. It is not going to be a daily driver for anyone with a serious commute, and it might replace something more dangerous like a motorcycle.

    The US should absolutely match Canada’s 15 year import limit, instead of the current 25 year rule, and should maybe put a flat tariff on more recent cars, e.g. $10,000. That will prevent a race to the bottom of crappy, unsafe commodity cars, but still let an enthusiast import a new Lotus Exige or Wiesmann MF5.

    • 0 avatar
      marc

      “And cars that meet all the US standards are available starting at about $11,000.”

      Comment of the day.

      Question? Can’t you still legally import that Lotus and just drive it on private tracks? I mean, if I were a true (Internet auto-blogger) enthusiast, and I wanted that perfect unregulated car, it seems like you are saying I could have it, I just can’t drive it on public, taxpayer supported roads that are frequented by senior citizens, numb commuters, distracted mommies, teenagers, infants and millions of others careening recklessly in their death mobiles. Seems fair to me.

      • 0 avatar
        Dubbed

        You actually could import it. It would just be expensive and very time consuming to get it over.

        And another option would be to import parts of the car and then build it fully in America and then try to get it registered as a kit car.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I question the existence of the $11,000 car. Nissan says they exist, but I’ve never seen one, and the dealer didn’t even want to talk about ordering one.

  • avatar
    Syke

    First off, I’m honored that you quote me. Of course, it comes up on a day that I’m busy as all get out, so its post-1700 and 85+ comments down when I finally discover that I’ve been quoted. Of all the days to be coming on board late.

    I’ve been driving cars since 1966, motorcycles since 1976, and have off and on bicycle commuted since 1968. And in this forum, this is where I build my opinions on society. Which leaves me with a few thoughts which I’ll scatter-gun out in no particular order:

    1. Do you want proof that we’ve become a nation of cringing wimps?
    Then please explain to me why we cannot ride a bicycle without body armor (helmets) anymore. Of course, unless I’m doing one of my rare stints on a mountain bike, I don’t wear one. Ever. I hate the damned things. Almost as much as a I hate the fellow cyclist who has to preach at me on a Sunday ride because I’m not wearing one. I’d really like to know why cycling is more dangerous in 2013 than it was in 1969. Actually, I firmly believe that it was a lot more dangerous to bicycle back then, because in 1969 the only people who used bicycles to get around were weirdos, the mentally challenged (hopefully that phrase isn’t too insulting), or people who lost their licenses to DUI’s. At least today, the most idiot driver knows there are things like bicycles on the road, and you don’t swat at them with a rolled up newspaper for your amusement (yes, it happened back in ’69).

    2. In my almost fifty years of driving I’ve been behind the wheel of anything from a Model T Ford to dual rear axle cargo trucks. I’ve yet to find anything safer about new cars, only more annoyances as the government is determined to treat me like I’m some kind of congenital idiot unable to care for myself. Now, a lot of this attitude has to do with an absence of anything resembling a serious auto accident in the last 15-20 years (and that one was motorcycle). I don’t count this to luck. Rather I’ll credit it to the development of driver skill built up thru . . . . .

    3. I regularly commute on a motorcycle. Actually, I prefer to ride a motorcycle for daily transportation than use a car. And I’m a much better driver for it, if only because of the reflexes I’ve been forced to develop to survive the incessant stupidities thrown my way by my fellow eating, drinking, texting, cell-phoning, report writing, whatever-elsing car drivers. In my idea of a perfect world, nobody would be allowed to drive a car until they spent two years on a motorcycle (of 500cc or under) as their transportation. If they survived that, you’d be amazed what better, more caring and considerate drivers they’d be.

    On a motorcycle, you can’t listen to the radio (I don’t ride dressers), eat, drink, text, etc. You can only pay attention to the road and enjoy the ride.

    4. Obviously, my body is my own. I do not need the government to tell me what I’m allowed to inflict on myself (as long as I’m not directly inflicting it on another unwilling person at that time), nor will I accept such annoyances with anything resembling good graces. If I care to do something incredibly stupid, I do with with the knowledge that Darwin is looking over my shoulder.

    5. I reject, screamingly and completely, that attitude that I need to be watched over so I can’t do something stupid and become a “burden on society”. In the first place, I’ve got enough sense to have enough insurance backing me to make sure that nobody from the “it takes a village” crowd will be stuck with my medical or long term care bills. I’d like to think that I’ve got enough responsibility that I’m going to take precautions in proportion to how much risk I intent to put into my life. Once again, I repeat, it’s my body. What I do with it is none of your damned business.

    6. A final thought: I’m a citizen of the United States who had the good fortune to alive and at the television to watch our nation succeed in mankind’s greatest venture – landing on the Moon. Something that was a peak in our nation that we’ve come nowhere near to approaching since.

    In 1966, on this noble quest, three brave Apollo astronauts lost their lives thru an under-designed capsule and an unfortunately accident. So what did we as a nation do? We said our prayers, made a few noble speeches, redesigned the equipment, and continued on with purpose undiminished. And three years later, we landed. Still within the time frame that John Kennedy committed us to in 1961.

    Now, visualize that we’re attempting to go back (try not to laugh), and later this year three more astronauts are killed in a capsule accident. Would we, as a nation, be able to once again pick ourselves up and re-land on the moon in 2016?

    Would we even have the environmental impact statements from the accident finalized by 2016? Would the liability lawsuits have proceeded thru the legal system allowing design work to continue by 2016?

    Sorry, at the curmudgeonly age of 63, I firmly believe that my generation and those following are not worthy to kiss the butts of the generations that preceded us. We’re wimps, we no longer have what it took to build this country.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Wow! that’s quite a rant there…
      I subscribe to the “All of the gear, all of the time” philosophy. That way it’s my choice, not the governments.
      I agree 100% riding a motorcycle improves your driving skills because there is no room for error. By its nature you are forced to make good choices.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Syke,
      I don’t think your view is entirely accurate on how the Apollo fire panned out.

      First, my job involves risk mitigation, this occurs everyday on every job I undertake. I’m responsible for this. Others rely on my judgement and adherence/compliance to standards.

      The case of the Apollo fire would have been investigated and new procedures would have been recommended and acted on. Every aspect from the egress of the astronauts in a capsule to the systems employed to manage the oxy systems. Changes would have been made to reduce risk.

      In any area of safety management to first choice is to remove a hazard that exists. If this is impossible to achieve then risk mitigation is used. You may well have a the hazard and tools like personal protective equipment and procedural/process changes are employed.

      I think you are looking at this in a very simplistic way. You must consider others in risk mitigation, not just yourself.

      Remember, what you consider a personal risk could be endangering the lives of others. This includes (as and example) the wearing of harnesses like seatbelts. Not only do they offer the operator of a vehicle protection, but under certain situation the operator still has control of a vehicle to avoid injuring others.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        For the sake of not having my rant get even longer, I freely admit that my view on the Apollo 1 fire is incredibly basic. And it’s also oversimplified to make a point.

        I was 16 when that fire happened, and the kind of science-fiction geek who followed every word, every broadcast regarding the space program from the day we were taken to the all-purpose room to watch Alan Shepard go up.

        What sticks with me was the lack of a national outcry that “we shouldn’t be doing this, its too risky”. No, there was a general national feeling that we should soldier on, make the necessary changes and get to the moon like we were committed to.

        I saw the first change in that attitude when Challenger blew up. Suddenly it was soooooooo important to find out who (not just why) had screwed up. I saw the first callings for shutting down the Shuttle program because it was too risky . . . . . and besides, there’s a poor person somewhere living under a bridge.

        And its gotten worse as the years have gone on. If the newly united Spain had had the current American attitude back in the 1490′s, Columbus would have stayed in port.

        • 0 avatar

          Points like this are why you are one of my favorite commenters.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Thomas Kreutzer
            I’m sorry I don’t concur, using information and/or data incorrectly then justifying a comment.

            Why? To raise the emotion in distorted claims.

            The issue of accidents and hazard reduction is serious business, not to be used in almost a political sense to convey a misleading picture of a situation.

            If you make a comment and its wrong, it’s wrong. The American society never rejected the Apollo space program, or any space program for that matter.

            The main opposition to the space program was to do with the capital outlay. In other words the money could have been better spent.

            Not much was ever expressed concerning the inherent dangers associated with space travel.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Syke
          I think you are overplaying the ‘we shouldn’t do this because it dangerous’.

          Just look at extreme sports, motor racing etc. Even look at what we do in the military.

          I’m sorry but if you think society is as you expressed you must live a sheltered life.

          So, you think motor racing should use the same controls as they had even in the 90s, let alone the 30s. Why?

          I don’t think society has become safer like you think or violence wouldn’t be so prevalent.

          Young guys still drive around like hoons and this can be shown with stats. Why? Because they think its safer?

          I think humans haven’t changed since before the ancient Roman’s.

          Remember, it isn’t speed that kills, but the difference in speed. We must protect ourselves from ourselves. Because if we don’t he can injure and kill others.

          If you believe what you are stating why aren’t we still sitting around bare assed, prodding sticks into termite mounds for protein. Because we invented spears and bows and arrows.

          This process will continue until our demise.

          • 0 avatar
            Syke

            Al,

            Factor in one more item that, up until now, I haven’t mentioned – the entertainment factor.

            No, the US populous never turned against the space program, per se. However, after the second or third moon landing, the interest died rapidly. It was doing the same old thing, again and again, why take up the TV time for that? And besides, now that I’m not being entertained anymore, isn’t it too dangerous.

            Since I read both left and right wing publications regularly (my personal politics is speread enough over the map that the hard core of each wing will oppose me stridently somewhere along the line), I read all the pious “we can’t do anything until the last poor person isn’t poor anymore”, which coupled itself with the “its too dangerous” very quickly.

            We’ll put up with danger – auto and motorcycle racing comes immediately to mind with the death of that World Super Sport rider in Moscow this past weekend – as long as we’re entertained by it. And as long as we’re not risking our individual necks, specifically. But once the entertainment value drops, we start complaining.

            I’m not against systems getting better, or safer, or more effective. I certainly wouldn’t want to see a return to the pre-Ayrton Senna days in Formula 1.

            However, if I’m willing to take the risk to drive a 1930 Indian 101 Scout, or a 1937 Buick Special (both which will leave indelible memories for the rest of my life), I’ll be dammned if I’ll put up with a society that wants to stop me from doing that “for my own good” because the majority of that society either aren’t interested enough, or too scared, to follow in my footsteps.

            To go back to the initial point that started this whole article, I want one of those Kei cars, and be able to drive it daily. In traffic. At my own risk. And I’m not accepting the recently-found American passion for protecting themselves from risk, or the totalitarian-ish behavior of those who feel they must protect me from myself.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Syke
            I see it this way, in the last 150 years the world that man lives in has changed 10 fold or more. We have much technology that we are still understanding, even cars.

            That’s why motor racing or aircraft safety is where it is now. It has taken this long for the level of safety to be where it is.

            It would have been unheard of in the 60s and 70s to have a small four cylinder family car that did 200kph. You ride bikes I remember in the early 90s how fast a RVG 250 went. We need to have these safety measure in place because regulations for motor vehicles is set to allow for a low common denominator to operate the vehicle. Because our society would collapse if 50% of drivers lost their licences due to incompetency.

            In my job we achieve many times a day what Chuck Yeager once every couple of weeks and we do it safely. When Yeager was flying it was dangerous the systems and processes employed were in their infancy.

            This is the same with motor vehicles.

            I’m seeing many comments here regarding the limitations of what some deem freedom is. The reality is freedom is great…….until it impact another and that can be financial ie, subsidising medical and invalidity.

            Why should I end up paying for someone else. If motorcycles were invented today do you think they would be a road registered vehicle? The car in this article can not even get to be made road worthy in the US.

            But that’s due more to technical barriers than safety related issues.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Thank you Skye. This summer I talked my Dad out of the 1967 Ford Mustang convertible that belonged to my maternal grandfather until he passed in 1978. It is a 289 V8 4 brl car with a three speed auto. Manual steering, drum brakes, lap belts and of course the reduced rollover protection of a convertible top. Right now the car is at a trusted local shop getting mechanically right. (Cooling and braking system has already been completely rebuilt.)

      I’m gonna drive it naturally. I’m sure not going to pop a beer and just watch the tires go flat. Is it as safe as my wife’s 2005 Vibe? Heck no. But its my choice to drive it despite all the idiots in 5000 lb SUVs while the ‘Stang weighs less than 3,000 lbs.

      I’m sure there is some people in this country who don’t even think I should be allowed to own it or even drive it given that it doesn’t meet pedestrian impact standards. (Forget me for a moment.)

      Even being just 36 yrs old, I agree with Skye’s points.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Enjoy that car. You’re about to find out the true joy of driving – where its you, the car, the road, and a complete lack of microprocessors interpreting what you want to do. The only way I could see you could make it better is to replace the autmatic with a four speed.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      “I’ve been forced to develop to survive the incessant stupidities thrown my way by my fellow eating, drinking, texting, cell-phoning, report writing, whatever-elsing car drivers” – I agree, and this is why I want modern safety systems in my car. Recently rear-ended by a texting driver going 45+ (I was stopped) I walked away, car (BMW E46) was totaled. I have zero doubt that if I was in a older car it would have been ugly, real ugly for my family. I appreciate old cars as much as most, recently sold a BMW 2002, still have and drive a 1982 Toyota Hilux 4×4. But for my daily commute and moving my family around give me everything they have learned in the last 30 years, Airbags all around, ABS, DSC, high strength steel, crush zones, adaptive head-restraints, etc. I want all of it.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    A couple of thoughts from an old economics professor.

    1. Government regulation in any industry should follow the ‘Goldilocks Principle’. Not too much. Not too little, but juuust right.

    2. Vehicle safety regulations are profoundly affected by the Freidman-Savage Principle. They established by actual scientific experimentation that groups of human beings collectively are very good at estimating the true probability of an event as long as that event has at least a 10% chance of happening. All of the data were given to the participants, but calculating the actual probability was deliberately made far too complex. Individuals’ guesses were often way off the mark, but those who were too high were offset by those who were too low. The average of all the guesses was usually pretty close to the correct answer.

    For most people, having an injury wreck is way below a 10% chance. Humans just aren’t very good at estimating the probability of such rare events, even collectively. Actuaries, given enough data, can do a good job of it, though. In short, motor vehicle safety measures are one area where free market choice breaks down. Can it be overregulated? Of course! See Goldilocks Principle above.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    the problem is the same one we have with insurance. you dolts who want to opt out of insurance still end up at the hospital and you get care. we should be able to lock you out, but you see, your rugged individualist system doesn’t work that way.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      +1000 JD-Shifty.

      Do whatever you want as long as you pay for ALL of the internal and external costs.

      If you want to ride without a helmet, join a high-risk motorcycle insurance pool that will cover the extended hospital stays and keep you of Medicaid once the money runs out. Otherwise, we all pay a bit more for helmet-less riders.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ….Do whatever you want as long as you pay for ALL of the internal and external costs…..

        I could not agree more. If you will pay for all the costs that your choices bring, nobody has the right to tell you what to do. But since that does not happen, when Mr. Free Market or Die wraps their car or bike around a tree and puts their hand out for care subsidized by others, well then your choices are no longer yours alone.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        In Michigan where the mandatory helmet law was recently repealed, motorcycle riders who ride helmet-less must post a bond showing they have sufficient medical insurance. Judging by the amount of riders I see with the wind in their hair (probably 9 out of 10), the freedom to choose is VERY popular.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          New Mexico’s helmet law says that if you are under 18 you are legally required to wear a helmet, over 18 its your choice. I always thought that it was very interesting that we tell 18 year olds they don’t have good enough judgement to consume alcohol but they have the judgement to choose a helmet or not riding a crotch rocket.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Alcohol consumption laws are a good example of the first stages of the nanny state totalitarianism taking hold. It comes in all forms.

  • avatar
    April

    I walked away from a collision that would have been fatal if it wasn’t for the evil government mandated safety equipment.

    Thank you evil government.

    • 0 avatar
      marc

      I should let this comment speak for itself, and hopefully the thread will be over.

      Notgonnahappen.com

      Listening to some of the above posters, you should have been a better driver and not gotten into that accident. Seriously, that’s what I feel like I have been reading today.

      Thank you for your post, and I thank the evil government that you are still alive so that you could make that post!

      • 0 avatar
        April

        I know it’s difficult to believe but this female was not at fault. It was caused by a male with poor driving skills. (not paying attention and ran into the back of my car).

        Now that I think of it this happened twice. Both idiot men.

        • 0 avatar
          marc

          It’s not difficult to believe that it was not your fault, and I hope you read me blaming you as the sarcasm tat was intended. Accidents happen. But no matter who is at fault, we are more likey to survive today than 10, 20 or 30 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      No one is disputing the usefulness of seat belts and basic SRS airbags.

      The debate is mostly around active safety features like backup cameras, lane departure warning systems, etc., the things which end up seeming like a stand-in for paying attention.

      • 0 avatar
        justgregit

        Are there regulations that mandate backup cameras/lane departure warning etc? I thought these were all premium features, pretty much only found on higher end vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          The former has been pushed back several times, currently until 2015, and there were murmurs of the latter in 2009.

          They’re trying, though. Otherwise they’re out of a job.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        No brenschluss, the issue IS the usefulness of seatbelts and airbags. And people are disputing their usefulness. And also the usefulness of crumple zones, secure gas tanks, shatter proof glass, padded dashes. Then we have ESC, TC, ABS, LMNOPQRS. You can’t just draw an invisble line, these regs are ok, these are not. Yes, the regulations seem never ending, but they save lives. And really, it’s not just about paying attention.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          See jimbob457′s post above regarding Goldilocks principle.

          In short, he is right and you are wrong: There is a line, however fuzzy, determined by diminishing returns and cost/benefit analysis. The level of acceptable exposure to risk is different for everyone, and one should be able to choose this level of exposure so long as it does not expose those around you to unacceptable amounts of risk.

          In other words, you should be able to buy a car filled to the brim with soft foam and bags of air to protect you, while I would like a car that scarcely protects me at all, and that would be no more likely to cause damage to you and yours under my control, than an electronically-dampened machine driven by an idiot, provided I can prove as much.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          I should say, and this is in response to JD-Shifty too, “no one” was obviously a bad choice of words. If someone wants a completely rigid car with spikes on the dash that’s their problem. I have nothing against 3-point belts, a few airbags and crumple zones. I don’t like tiny windows, and I don’t like that the “solution” is a video camera.

          I also don’t like intrusive stability control in any car I’m gong to buy, but have no problem if the standard volume model of a popular car comes with very strong ESC that prevents a spin when their owners think they can still make that exit.

          It’s all about choice, man.

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            The goldilocks principle makes a lot of sense. But why are you afraid that somehow goldi has tipped so far to papa bear’s side? Now crumple zones are okay? And now ESC is ok, but maybe just on the Camrys and Fusions that plebeians buy? You can’t have it both ways. If regulators are about to make a mistake, speak up. As many have, like pushing back on the feds on backup cameras. But otherwise, the regulated commie cars that the feds have forced upon you are pretty damn good, despite all your fears.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            I’ve been pretty consistent.

            I don’t have a problem with what anyone else wants in a car. I don’t even think today’s cars are that bad- the small ones are uglier than I’d like, but we can still turn the nannies off. I just don’t want regulation to be the reason an automaker can’t make the car I want.

            That’s all!

      • 0 avatar
        JD-Shifty

        plenty of people resent seatbelts, airbags and helmets

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Yes, now some say “Oh, seatbelts are ok”, not 20-30 years ago. A lot of people believed being strapped in a car would kill you in an accident. Like April, I’m here because of a seatbelt that I was told I had to wear or face a 100.00 fine… Thanks

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            …if you need a reason

            http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z256/jimbob1955_2007/monday/1wreck_zps9a439410.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          My favorite seatbelt story; “If X had been wearing their seatbelt and not been thrown from the car they would have died”

          my favorite reply; “I had the dearest of people think the same thing, then she was thrown from a car and for eight hours I watched her brain suck up blood like a sponge and get squeezed through the base of her skull”.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That really happened to a family friend. (Thrown from an accident that would have killed him) My parents used that example as a reason not to wear seatbelts for years. Glad I thought that was stupid logic

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It appears my views conflict with many on this site regarding, safety.

    Living in a safe environment has been around since year dot. Why do we have militaries?

    What differentiates us (Western world) from our competitors is safety, and the use of regulations, or the enforcing of standards.

    As some already realise I work in the aviation field, safety and adherence to processes and procedures is the reason air travel is as it is.

    The question on this article should be—-Why does the US have to be different to the rest of the world regarding vehicle regulations?

    Why is it a global Ford Ranger which is a safer vehicle than any current US pickup not be imported into the US under a grey market scheme? Is it because it is unsafe? That is the logic behind the lack of grey imports into the US.

    If the US used the same regulated standards of vehicle design and safety as us you would have that vehicle, most all vehicles.

    I think this safety issue is more about protectionism, the US under the NHTSA regulations doesn’t offer you guys the safest roads to drive on. The risk of a fatality in the US is higher than many countries.

    This risk level isn’t just because many think you drive more miles.

    This then leads me to believe the NHTSA is being used for purposes other than (as well) safety to control your vehicle market.

    • 0 avatar
      justgregit

      I agree with this completely (as I posted above).

      My issue isn’t with safety standards, I wholly believe in them. I am just really irked by the lack of global (or at least developed market) standards for vehicles, both in terms of emissions and safety features. It would be really nice if there were international approval standards so that, if, for example, a car is approved in Germany or Japan or Canadian use, it is also approved for US use. Don’t try and tell me Germany, Japan, and Canada are less safety conscious and more libertarian on these issues than the US.

      These really need to be settled on an international trade level. There is nothing inherently different about the roads or economies in developed countries (namely US/Canada/Western Europe/Japan/Korea and a handful of other Asian countries) that they can’t all operate on the same standards. I understand that economics in China, India, or other middle and lower economic tier countries mean that such features might not be suitable, but among economies with similar roads and GDP/capita numbers, it would make a lot of sense. For a lot of car companies, it would also help them reduce costs, by allowing them to consolidate platforms and reduce redundant testing and approval.

      Overall I agree with your sentiment though. I think a lot of these are protectionist economic measures masked as safety/environmental regs.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Most nations around the world follow more or less the same standards. For instance I believe the Australians do their own crash testing but it is very similar to EURO-NCAP.
      When you get to the US there is a definite miss-step and some questionable standards differences. It would make much more sense if both conflicting crash testing organizations where replaced with one that followed the global standards more closely. Honestly there is nothing that different enough about US roads that justify “different” standards.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        I think there is a cultural difference as well between Australia and the US with the licencing of drivers.

        In the US there tends to be a belief that everyone is entitled to drive/operate a vehicle. In Australia, there is a greater leaning that you must earn that right.

        Also, the level of assessed competency between the 2 countries is different. As I have witnessed the enforcement of road/driving regulations is enforced more in Australia with harsher penalties for any deviation from the set standards ie, violations are less likely than in the US.

        Where my family lives in New Jersey they completely and continually exceed the speed limit by more than I would dare to in Australia. Why? Because regulations aren’t enforced.

        Our road system isn’t any better. I don’t even think our vehicles would be safer. I think it comes down to expectations on vehicle operation. We still have to many fatalities in Australia, this can be improved, but education and enforcing standards is the best method to reduce risk.

        In 1990 I read an article that showed it was costing the Australian public in the late 80s over $1 million dollars per road death.

        Road deaths and associated disabilities cost society a huge sum of money to manage. Generally taxes pay for much of this. So, remember every vehicle accident or for that matter any incident that injures a person that can be removed the society is better for it, not only in emotions, but costs to all.

        So, people don’t just look at the initial outlay of a vehicle and say this stuff is crap. Look at the cost savings in the country, this equates to less taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Well said! Protectionism can be sneaky, and it aids the producer at the expense of the consumer.

  • avatar
    tbone33

    I like aspects of the current system. I like that my motorcycle does not have to meet strict safety standards. Even though I have crashed in a way that almost led to my demise, I feel that I opted into that danger. On the other hand I am glad that there are strict safety requirements for production cars, as those requirements are the reason my parents are still alive after a rollover. I also like that there is a gray market of cars where the consumer has no expectation of safety.

    Sure the system could be tweeked in many of the ways that have been mentioned here. Sure I wish the feds never cracked down on gray market cars. All of that said, I feel vehicular safety is something the government gets mostly right.

    • 0 avatar
      April

      I’m sure motorcycles are required to meet certain safety mandates. A few that come to mind are standards concerning brake performance and lighting. Of course a helmet is more than worth the trouble.

  • avatar
    Autopassion

    “There will be no more political trolling…”

    Source:”In Which We Bid a Fond Farewell”, Jack Baruth, posted on TTAC, July 12, 2013.

    I guess that pledge didn’t last long…

    • 0 avatar

      A troll, in my opinion, is someone who deliberately takes a controversial position on a sensitive issue in order to incite attacks and incense people. My own position is evolving but is generally middle of the road and there was no intent on my part or the part of anyone on the editorial staff to antagonize anyone.

      I.e. Discussions that have some political content don’t equal “political trolling.”

      Thus far, for those of you keeping score at home, since the pledge went into effect I have been accused of writing pornographic/fetish imagery, fiction (which I actually did) and now political trolling. Can someone point me at the next windmill please?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Hmmm, must have missed the porn… Since this subject couldn’t be discussed without involving the government in general terms, I would say that you’re giving this one comment more attention then it deserves

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        You can’t please everyone. As this thread shows, politics have become greatly intertwined with the auto industry. To ignore it for the sake of the ignorant buries all of our heads in the sand.

        Some people just can’t handle controversy. They probably don’t vote either. And probably have trouble deciding what color undergarments to wear.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    …..I don’t trust industry and the market to give a crap about the likes of me and mine when there is a dollar to be made at my expense…..

    I would say you answered your own question pretty damn well.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Long day, so free-association only.

    Regulation creates nothing. Regulation… regulates. The market creates.

    I’ve always been curious why government didn’t just require that all occupants of motor vehicles wear crash helmets. Vanity? That would be the most cost-effective safety measure imaginable. Instead we have costly curtain airbags. But now motorcyclists don’t have to wear helmets anymore. So that’s selectively taking a backward step regulation-wise for one class of vehicles while simultaneously requiring an expensive equivalent safety measure for another class of vehicles. Splain that one.

    I know people who could easily afford an Audi A8 but instead drive a Smart Car. Why are they allowed to do that? They are probably more likely to get into an accident driving the Smart Car than the A8, and if they’re in an accident their likelihood of being injured (at my expense!!) is certainly much greater in the Smart Car. So even within the available choices of regulated vehicles, one can make a smart (A8) or dumb (Smart) choice.

    For that matter, aren’t regulated CAFE standards dangerous? Smaller/lighter loses every time. You can’t argue physics. Why do they call it a Yaris? Because that’s what you can kiss goodbye if you get in an accident in one.

    Meanwhile all these safe cars are being produced with all kinds of electronic distractions built in or able to be added on. So as cars are mandated to be safer, drivers are becoming dumber and/or less attentive. Ever notice how often people go around blind corners over the center line? Hardly ever used to happen, and now it’s a common thing. Willful stupidity.

    Hopefully auto safety regulation can someday achieve what regulators have been able to attain with food/diet regulations. Buckle-up and pass the McNuggets, Lardass.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Over-regulation stifles creativity. Government can only regulate based on data from past experience. New innovation offers no past experience. Therefore, regulators must inherently stifle new innovation because it offers no past experience upon which to model regulation.

      That said, free market capitalism cannot work without a proper framework of law and order and regulation. See John Stuart Mill or Jeremy Bentham. It is just the Goldilocks Principle.

      Something as commonplace as a restaurant meal offers an everyday example. Local government health inspectors offer a first line of defense against food poisoning. Tort lawyers offer a remedy if it happens. The free market also plays a crucial role because an eating place that sickens its patrons will not survive for long. The overall result of this mishmash of the market and government regulation is an enhancement of the free market. Without health inspectors, only the big name chains would have the health bona fides to survive.

      You think restaurant food is a good example? Try the market for financial claims – banks, insurance companies, et. al.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Yep. Wimps abound.

    The breakdown of American community into tiny, disconnected families who send their parents to nursing homes and eventually have 1.2 kids – or better still, have a dog – means what very few people they do have in their life need to be wrapped in bubbles everywhere they go like the irreplaceable heir apparent.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    I’m a wimp but I no longer cringe.

    Got to be too hard on the back, knees & ankles.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “Mandate Or Market Forces: Are We A Nation Of Cringing Wimps?”

    Yes. See above, or the inevitable reply to this comment.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I thought about this some more after reading all the comments. It’s interesting how the strongest proponents of a legislative approach have the least understanding of the industry. Just like in real politics.

    Without regulations, car companies wouldn’t offer safety features? Give me a break. You hand the undeserved credit to your state worshipping selves and your political masters.

    Manufacturers offered seatbelts, collapsible steering columns, hydraulic brakes, power brakes, electric starters, padded dash boards, radial tires, air bags, backup cameras, blind spot detection, ABS, stability control, electronic brake assist and just about every other safety feature WELL before they were ever regulated. Most of these items became popular because consumers saw the great value in them and bought them. Years later, a legislator passes a law and you give them all the credit for safety improvements? The market demands change faster than any Government can get it’s pants on.

    The city of Cleveland was already busy cleaning up the Cuyahoga (no thanks to the State or Feds) well before the EPA, yet who gets the credit?

    • 0 avatar
      Dubbed

      But why did the Cuyahoga need cleaning up in the first place?

      And whats with this view that regulation is bad period. Most regulations exist to decrease externalities unto other parties. Yes without questions a number exist that are unjustly and difficult to justify.

      But the regulations that have been mentioned here are very much justified. Their cost of implication is less compared to the negative outcomes they prevent or other cost to mitigate. Especially since in America we won’t be improving driver training anytime soon, these measures are seen by most people who buy cars as being pragmatic and justified. They don’t see it as soviet style government removal of freedoms.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        It was a consequence of industrial progress. It was a dumping ground for waste, sanctioned by the state via license. As society became more affluent and people became aware of pollution as a problem rather than a by-product, they saw a need to clean it up. Which the city did with the cooperation of citizens, local business groups, and other stakeholders, but with some resistance from the state and indifference from the federal government.

        That is, until 1969 when it became fashionable for the Feds to get involved in such things. Again, a day late and a dollar short. The city had been working on it for a decade. The low point for pollution on the Cuyahoga was in the 30′s and 40′s, well before the EPA.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        danio, I notice that you said, ‘the city of Cleveland started cleaning up the river well before the EPA’, but NOT before it caught on fire. As well, the city, aka Gummint, not the corporation(s) that dumped all that flammable yumminess into the water shed in the first place. The market and consumers did not fix the problem they created, gummint had to.

  • avatar
    lon888

    I was in mexico last week doing some diving and rented a new Brazillian -built Volkswagen Gol. If I were to say that this was a basic, developed for rental fleets/developing middle-class countries, i would be understating it. This car had manaul gearbox, wind-up windows, no radio, NO airbags, NO ABS not even a seat belt warning light or buzzer. The simple 1.6 liter engine had a device on it we once knew as a “distributor” along with a very simple fuel injection and NO emissions controls. My point is would everyone who got injured in one of these little boxes be lining up to sue VW? NO!!! They know what they bought and accepted the risks along with it. America should do the same.

  • avatar
    afflo

    The liability is all on the defensive side.

    It shouldn’t be all on the offensive side either, but should be more balanced. Vehicles should be required to meet standards based on how well they perform in protecting their occupants from danger, as well as how they perform protecting occupants of other vehicles from danger.

    This might hurt the Detroit 2.5, so we’ll never see it happen.

    My sincere wish is that a jury slap will someone with some punitive damages for putting a lift kit, massive grill guard, or driving a vehicle that is obviously above and beyond what is reasonably prudent*, and banjo-strummy poop-haulers become prohibitively expensive to insure for the non-commercial/industrial user.

    Personal responsibility means ensuring your choices don’t harm others unnecessarily, as well as protecting yourself from harm/damages.

    * if juries can be expected to judge “reasonable” doubts when determining whether to convict for capital offenses, surely juries can determine what is reasonable in other cases.

  • avatar
    vaujot

    I am a bit late to the party but here goes:
    1. In find it remarkable that the Suzuki Cappuccino that started this discussion is a result of regulation – namely the japanes kei car regulation.
    2. As the economics professor pointed out and what many free-market-advocates fail to acknowledge is that there are many market inefficiencies, distortions and failures, due to factors like information deficits or market power discrepancies. Externalities are another factor. These points are agreed upon by almost all economists (I think Adam Smith recognized them already) who just disagree on where the “goldilocks” point in regulation lies.
    3. Syke’s not prevented by safety regulations from importing, registering and owning the kei car, rather it is the rather strict standards the US apply to import of vehicles younger than 25 years. In February, Bertel ran a post about an online petition to the government to change these rules. The petition failed to gain the required support, which suggests that this is really a problem of a very small minority. I am not sure if anyone ever tried to mount a legal challenge against these import restrictions. Perhaps that would be worth a try.
    4. As was pointed out, the a significan problem is not so much the regulations as such but that the US insist on having differing regulations than the rest of the world. Qui bono?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India