The Disconnect

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If the government is so very concerned about Our Safety, why is it forcing millions of people to drive around in cars with double-dangerous Takata airbags in them?

But there is a recall!

Yes, absolutely.

Which will take years to run its course due to the enormous number of cars involved. Dealers – who are handling the work as part of the recall process – are overwhelmed. And there aren’t enough replacement, somewhat less-dangerous air bags available to replace the double-dangerous “defective” ones.

So owners of the Takata-equipped bags wait.

And, drive.

Which means each time they do, they are gambling the double-dangerous Takatas won’t detonate and spray their faces with high-speed shrapnel. The government leaves them with no other option – other than to not drive the car, of course. Which isn’t much of an option if you bought the car for purposes of driving it and need to be able to drive it in order to earn the money necessary to pay for it, as well as other such mundane things like food and rent.

There is of course a third option: Turn the bags off until they can be replaced. In most cars, this is a simple matter of pulling a fuse or disconnecting a circuit. At most, installing a simple Off switch. It does not require back-ordered or unavailable parts – and can be done easily, in a fraction of the time it takes to remove/disassemble a car’s steering column and dashboard – necessary in order to remove/replace the air bags.

This would give people breathing space; it would eliminate any danger of further harm caused by the Takata bags and so give people some peace. They would know the car is once again safe to drive.

But the government won’t allow it.


And why aren’t “consumer safety advocates,” as they style themselves, howling with outrage?

It is a very interesting thing.

If you drive unbuckled, you are likely to get a ticket – based on the assertion that it is not safe to drive a car without buckling up. So how is it that’s it’s “safe” to drive a car with a defective airbag – two defective air bags, typically – that could explode in your face and cut it to pieces with razor sharp pieces of metal?

Isn’t that the functional equivalent of rescinding seatbelt laws and knowingly permitting people to place themselves in harm’s way?

Ah, but there is a critical difference between an individual choosing to place himself in harm’s way and the government giving him no choice in the matter. It is not about “safety,” you see.

It is about power – manifested as control.

The person who chooses to not buckle up has asserted control over himself. This cannot be endured by the controllers in government. Whether it is truly “safe” to wear a seatbelt is purely incidental and secondary to being made to do as you are told – and punished if you do otherwise.

If this were not so – if the controllers in the government were truly concerned about Our Safety as opposed to controlling us –  there would be consistency. All known dangers to Our Safety would be treated with equal gravity; greater gravity, according to the objective threat posed.

And these Takata bags are without question the single greatest automotive safety threat in modern history; far worse than the most theoretical danger of fire-prone Pintos and the phantom danger of Audis that didn’t suddenly accelerate on their own (this was a made-up thing which almost put Audi out of business back in the ‘80s).

And vastly more so than seatbelt scofflaws.

Yet not only is there no immediate call to disable these double-dangerous, known-to-be-defective bags via the simple expedient of pulling a fuse or installing an Off switch, it remains illegal to do so. Any dealer who does so faces criminal prosecution for – cue the Irony Organ – defeating a government-mandated “safety” device. This is a High Crime in our time and no dealer will touch the job with a ten-foot screwdriver.

The individual owner could pull the appropriate fuse and not risk prosecution. However, disabling the bag – unless you are clever with electronics – will trigger the SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) warning light in the dashboard and this will cause you to fail – More Irony! – the government-mandated safety inspection needed in most states to get or renew your vehicle registration.

If you fail the “safety” inspection, effectively, you can no longer drive the car. Well, you could – but you do so at the risk of being coralled by a cop who notices the tags are expired. In most states, that can trigger more than just a ticket. If the cop is a vengeful sort, he can order your car towed to the impound lot.

To sum up: If you leave the defective bags powered on, the car is manifestly not safe to drive – but it passes the “safety” inspection, you get your government sticker and are now allowed to drive it.

All risk assumed by you, of course.

If there is any upside to this ugly airbag business, it is that it makes plain to anyone with their eyes open that the government doesn’t give a damn about Our Safety. If it did give a damn, it would never have imposed the air bag mandate to begin with. As I wrote about in a prior column, the government controllers responsible for imposing the air bag mandate – Joan Claybrook and Elizabeth Dole – two non-engineer lawyer/bureaucrats – were told by engineers of the dangers posed by air bags. That while they would save lives in some cases, they would also surely also take them in others.

This fact is not in dispute.

Nor that air bags were mandated anyway.

Because it was about power – and control – with Our Safety merely the window dressing used to give it the necessary pretext.

This may not have been obvious and some may question the assertion. But what can such gullible souls say when confronted with the fact that the government is literally requiring people – millions of people – to drive around in cars equipped with known defective air bags?

Res ipsa loquitur. 

Or at least, it ought to.

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  1. Pull the fuse after the inspection. Before the next inspection, put the fuse back in to after you pass than pull it out.

    But the feds need to allow them to be deactivate until replaced with the “safer” air bags. (or explosive bags).

    • Hi Stephen,

      I agree with you; the problem is that many people are not mechanically knowledgeable enough to pull a fuse on their own. And if there’s an accident – with the car or the bag – they may be held liable (or not covered) based on the fact that they illegally disabled the “safety” device.

      What’s needed is an official/legal proclamation that it’s ok to disable the bags – and then have dealers do this.

      • Sadly, you can’t just put the fuse light because the system remembers an airbag fault and will keep the SRS light lit, and the only way to turn it off in most cars is to pay the dealers.

        Early airbags were explosives in a bag that were simpler than today, a bypass switch with a resistor was sufficient. Today, we have weight sensors, multi-stage deployment and all that other complication because they’re dangerous as hell and need to deploy as weakly as possible. This takes complex, expensive, locked down systems.

        • I replaced the front seats with side airbags for some lightweight Recaros with no bags on my Audi A1. To simulate the missing side bags, I installed 4 Ohm resisters. For the weight sensor on the passenger seat, I measured the resistance the sensor made with a 50Kg (my Wife’s weight) person sitting on it and installed the proper resistor. The front airbag will deploy if there is no passenger but that’s OK. Since the car is European Spec., I have a key which can turn-off the passenger bag.

      • Eric,

        “the problem is that many people are not mechanically knowledgeable enough to pull a fuse on their own. ”

        If only the government would show us the way.

        I think the obvious solution is licensed fuse pullers, licensed fuse inspectors, and of course, licensed fuse installers. Of course any individual would be prohibited from being granted more than two of the three licenses at the same time.

        That’s what we call freedom!

  2. Love the press photos of those Estrogenic Hags …….My God! It’s Mrs. Doubtfire with a Badge!

    Personally I want all these Government Criminals disemboweled with their own torture devices!
    Put that prick, Musk, and his chief-programmer, in plastic deck-chairs on the front bumper of his murder-mobile, and send them both down the highway in Auto-Drive Mode!
    And those Bitches on “Capitol-Punishment-Hill” need an airbag taped on each side of their heads and then have them set-off! That would make a nice hairdo. All a bunch of pretentious, low-life racketeers!

  3. Having been injured from an airbag (in a crash that otherwise wouldn’t have injured me) you know if I had the option, I would have the damn things turned off (I have pulled the fuse on some that can be).

    There is a reason they failed in the 1970’s. They are bombs pretending to be a safety device.

    They know if there were simple on/off switches on them, millions would have them turned off.

  4. bACK IN ’73 OR ’74 Autoweek had an article on this Rube Goldberg contraption. Test done in Sweden on infant piglets, similar in size and physiology to an infant human, that detonated and airbag within proximity to the little porkers. In 8 out of 24 test the concussion of the blast to deploy the bag caused internal bleeding and death. They were not in contact with the bag, just near the explosion.

    Claybrooke and Dole should be in prison.

  5. Had a Ford that I got rid of a couple years ago. Received a recall notice on the air bags, and local Ford dealer said they wouldn’t have the parts to fix it for several months. I asked if they could disable for exactly the reasons you mentioned, Eric. Naturally they couldn’t, but surprisingly, they told me how to do it myself. Probably not the smartest thing for them to do, after all, I might be a government snitch or something, but I sure appreciated the fact that they did. Disconnected ’em, drove it for another year or so and then put it all back together before I traded it in.

      • War on poverty = more poverty.

        War on drugs = more drugs and addicts.

        Department of Education = the dumbest, most uneducated people in the history of the country.

        But the department of crime creation is working hard to keep us safe.

          • Indeed, it’s kind of defense did such a good job on 9/11 that their budget has been steadily increased as well as the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

            Now we are truly safe.

            But to be honest, I’m not going to feel secure until I’ve be fitted with my Homeland Security Collar by Key Safety Systems. Like the ones in the Running Man.

            “In the year 2019, America is a totalitarian state where the favorite television program is “The Running Man” — a game show in which prisoners must run to freedom to avoid a brutal death.”

            (Days until 2019=500)

            Watch the new re-purposed Takata airbags in action

            Because these didn’t catch on

          • Hi Eric,


            The change from Department of War to Department of Defense marked an Orwellian moment in American history. Words matter as they are constructs for concepts. Warp the word’s meaning and the concept is warped. Aggression is now “defense.” Much as the taking of people’s money under duress is described as a “contribution” and the people forced to deal with government agencies they’d rather have nothing to do with are “customers.”

            • I’m amazed that everyone on “the left” is so upset with all the white supremacists and nazis. After all, they’re the ones who were all in with GW Bush calling the United States “The Homeland™.”

            • Sadly, we here are the minute minority. I think Tom Woods points out our numbers roughly equal the true abolition parties of the 1840s-50s, though I am sure the Liberty Party would have done better if actual slaves could have voted. Now people voluntarily give up the chance for voluntary association.

        • When they seem to be successful they just double down.

          Civil rights laws actually worked, only because we all saw how ridiculous they were (and some key court cases did away with separate but equal), but that doesn’t stop the Ayatollahs from continuing the search.


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