You can expect your next new car to cost at least another $160-$200 more than it otherwise would – now that back-up cameras are about to be made the latest mandatory piece of “safety” equipment you’ll be forced to buy, beginning with the 2014 model year.
NHTSA – the government organ that spews these mandates – announced its intentions this week, inviting “public comment” on the proposed rule. But don’t waste your breath (or you keystrokes). NHTSA doesn’t care whether you want to pay an extra $160-$200 for a back-up camera you don’t need – because you can see what’s behind you for free by turning around and looking using your own eyes before you back up. The “final version”of the rule that will set the mandate in stone is on its way to Congress already. And if you expect any (or many) Congress Creatures to vote “against safety” rather than “for the children,” there’s a nice bridge for sale in Brooklyn, too.
The odious Clarence Ditlow – one of the first-generation shysters to make it to the really big time – predictably clucked his approval: “We haven’t done anything else to protect pedestrians,” he said.(See here for the NY Times article.)
I don’t know about “we” – but I do know that I (and probably, many of you, too) look before we back-up. Maybe people with neck problems (or poor eyesight) could benefit from a back-up camera. But why should those of us who don’t need such “help” be forced to pay for it anyway?
Because “we” need it, Clarence would tell you. Just as “we” needed airbags (after they failed in the free market) and all the rest of it.
But the last thing most of us need right now is the extra cost this mandate will impose. And if $160-$200 per car doesn’t seem all that high, consider the total: $2.7 billion. This is NHTSA’s own estimate of the costs, industrywide – and sure to be lowballed. Not factored into the cost equation, for example, are the down-the-road repair (more likely, replacement) costs. Which you’ll be forced to pay, it’s important to note, because it is a legal requirement that all factory-installed, government required “safety” equipment be intact and operational in order to pass the annual “safety” inspections that are likewise mandatory in most states.
That means down the road, when the back-up camera/LCD display monitor cease working – which they inevitably will – you will be required to get them fixed – or stop driving the car. The reply will surely be, oh, electronics are inexpensive. The cost is sure to be low. Yeah. Except for the labor to disassemble and re-assemble everything. So maybe “only” $100 in parts (though even that is probably lowball). Plus $75/hour to install the parts.
Another way to do the math is to divide by the body count. NTHSA and busybody Ditlow point to “95-112” deaths they project will be avoided (mostly by addled idiots driving over their own tots). Leaving aside that most if not all these deaths could be avoided by the simple – and free – expedient of looking over your shoulder and making sure no baybees are asleep behind your back tire (and why are baybees out of their parents’ sight to begin with? Isn’t that a parental, you know, responsibility?), the cost per life comes to a staggering $2.4 million per hypothetical life saved.
Is any cost too high when it comes to human life? Sure – when you’re forcing someone else to bear it.
My life is infinitely valuable to me. How much is it worth to you? Or rather, at what point does the value of my life impose an obligation on you, enforceable at gunpoint? That’s the real question here.
And the answer is obvious – or ought to be.
“Concerned moms” (who apparently aren’t concerned enough to keep track of their kids) certainly place a high value on the lives of their kids. They ought to place high concern, therefore, on making sure nothing (and no one) is behind their car before they commence to backing up.If they feel the need of a back-up camera to assist them, fine – then they should pay for it.
To be blunt – someone else’s kid is not my problem. At least, I don’t recognize a moral obligation to accept being forced to buy equipment I don’t need (no kids, good eyesight and I can drive) because a few parental fools can’t be troubled to look for themselves and whine that they need another electronic nanny to assist them. As for the handicapped – people with bad necks or what have you – they can buy what they need, too. But please, leave me out of it.
Where is this going to end?
There are two possibilities as I see it. One, enough of us stop buying new cars as a way of registering our contempt. I am not encouraged about the chances of this happening – for the same reason I am depressed about the lowing cattle’s acceptance of Gate Rape and all the rest of it. So, I expect more of the same – which will lead to ever-more-expensive cars. Which in time will lead to unaffordable cars – and most of us on the hoof or gaggled together into “safe” public (government) mass transit.
Which is probably the end game anyhow.
Throw it in the Woods?