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My Thoughts on Airbags

Al Gore once said that he wouldn't be satisfied until all cars have 360-degree airbag protection. The growing attitude in our culture today has become such that we no longer feel responsible for our own actions. Passive restraint systems such as the airbag are so popular because we don't have to think about our actions beforehand, like a big hand waiting to catch the baby as he tries to take his first steps, oblivious to the repercussions that await him when he crashes to the floor. Forget about defensive driving, forget about wearing your 3-point harness, forget about teaching your children to behave properly, just let the airbag do its work. The fact is, airbags are now killing small children, children who might otherwise have survived the crash, had they been strapped in properly.

New automobiles have become cost-prohibitive to the lower-income consumer, and a lot of this is the result of government-enforced safety regulations. If the NHTSA really wants to do something about traffic safety, why aren't there more government-supported driver education programs? The key issue here should be accident avoidance, not accident survival. Right along with the increasing costs of new cars is the increasing cost of auto insurance. If there were fewer accidents to begin with, there would be fewer insurance claims; and with auto repair costs skyrocketing because of added government-required features, it's no wonder we pay what we do in premiums. The added cost of unnecessary equipment like airbags continues to compound those repair costs. Replacement airbags have become such a valuable black-market commodity that cars are being broken into just for their airbags!

It amazes me, how many cars I've ridden in with staunch airbag supporters, who never even bothered to raise their headrests to protect their necks against rear-end collisions. Or, they never bother to fasten their lap-belt, but let the shoulder harness drape over them, content with knowing that "life-saving" airbag is going to protect them. These are the same people who think it's safe for the doors to be locked whenever the car is in motion, for whatever reason... (I just consider what happens when the rescue crew comes along after the accident, and needs to get a door open to extricate the people from the car...)