The Air Bag Body Count Upticks – And Will Again

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Sixteen actual Americans have been killed by Takata air bags so far. The latest victim in Buckeye, AZ. As opposed to the hypothetical Americans not actually killed by VW’s “cheating” on Uncle’s emissions certification tests.

More actuals are going to die, too – from the air bags. It’s inevitable; the odds are heavily stacked.

There are hundreds of thousands of cars in circulation with air bags Uncle knows are defective; knows have killed and so – great leap of logic – are probably going to kill again.

Yet Uncle does not hurl a fatwa granting permission for the people who were forced by Uncle to buy these air bags to even temporarily disable them until they can be replaced with new air bags that may also kill them, but which at least aren’t known to be defective.

Chew on it for a moment.

The government knows there are cars – a vast fleet of cars, encompassing several makes and many models built over a period of several years – that have an extremely dangerous safety defect, a literal ticking time bomb – and all that’s happened is a languid, take-a-number rolling recall that involved sending notices to the owners of these cars to make an appointment with their dealer to get the defect fixed.

Meanwhile, just keep on driving.

Which they’ve been doing – and will keep on doing – for some time to come, because of the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of cars saddled with these defective bags and dealerships can’t just fix them all at once or even six months from now.

This has been going on for many months – years, even – and will likely continue to time-delay kill stragglers, the owners of cars with defective bags who did not get a recall notice because of paperwork misdirection. Cars have been bought and sold; people have moved. It is no easy thing to find every registered owner of these cars and alert them to the Claymore – literally, the bags explode and spew shrapnel just like a land mine – that is perched just a few inches from their face.

VW was forced to park vast fleets of perfectly safe – and clean – diesel-powered cars (the entire 2016 model year run) on account of “cheating” on EPA emissions certification tests. These cars never hurt anyone – or even the environment – but Uncle went ballistic.

Because he’d been hurt.

His authority pricked. That is intolerable – which was made very clear to VW, which is so broken it now pays for advertising campaigns touting its rivals’ (electric) cars and has announced – loving Big Brother-style – that it will henceforth only do business with suppliers who are “socially responsible,” practice “sustainability” and all that jazz.

Feeling a little sour in the stomach?

And where are all the Ralphs? The “consumer advocates,” who aren’t advocating for turn-off switches so as to prevent these defective air bags from killing more people?

They were so awfully concerned when the subject of mandating air bags came up, back in the ‘90s. People must have them, they said. Or rather: Everyone must be forced to buy them, is what they actually said. Air bags – like gas-sippy cars – having been available on the free market many years prior to the mandates – for those who wanted them. But those who didn’t were free to not buy them.

That was intolerable. We heard lots of “concerned” ululations about the lives that would be saved when air bags were force-fed to everyone.

There is an odd silence now, however – when air bags are actually taking lives. As opposed to hypothetically “saving” them.

I suspect for two reasons.

First, these people – the busybodies at bayonet-point, both within government and egging government on (i.e., the Ralphs) dare not admit to fallibility. They must always be right – about everything. They are wiser and smarter, the source waters of their superciliousness. To admit to being less than Oz-like and just like us (or even lesser than us) would be to concede something fatal to their position: That they make mistakes – and will, again. Which puts into question their right – so to speak – to make mistakes we have to pay for.

The sans culottes may get  . . . restless.

The second reason ties into the first.

If Uncle were to allow people to disable defective air bags, even temporarily, those people might get it in their heads to keep them disabled. Or even to demand Off switches generally – since any air bag can kill. They may go all the way and demand  to be allowed to buy a new car without air bags at all.

Allowing even a temporary Off switch for a defective air bag would tacitly concede critical ground – that since it’s our faces facing the Claymore, we have the primary interest in assuming whatever the risk is, whether from a defect or on purpose.

The whole apple cart of government busybody-ism could be upended.

 That air bags have “saved lives” is beside the point, if it is your life that’s taken.

The choice to have or not ought therefore to be yours.

And not just with regard to air bags, but generally.

You see the danger now. And of course, so does Uncle. And Ralph, too.

Uncle doesn’t want the ball back in our court –  and neither do the “consumer advocates” -because both are chiefly concerned about their power over us.

Neither is asking, much less advising. Both like to tell – with Uncle’s bayonet there for the pointy nudge in the small of the back.

. . .

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  1. I have a 2006 Ford Ranger with these airbags in them. I have received tons of letters from Ford to get the airbags replaced, including a certified letter. I haven’t contacted them yet as my situation is basically hopeless. I live on an island in the Aleutian chain. The nearest Ford dealership to me is about 800 miles, all by water. To send my truck, which is worth about 3-4k dollars, to Anchorage will cost about 2k+ dollars one way via barge. One of my friends with a newer Subaru was trying to get theirs done, but eventually the customer service people just stopped calling them back. It would be great just to turn the damn airbags off as the max speed limit here is 30 mph and there are hardly any accidents here.

    • Hi Mega,

      It seems to me the burden is on Takata, et al, to resolve this problem – at their expense. It is not your obligation to pay to fix the problem they imposed on you. I would write a letter to Takata (this isn’t Ford’s fault) and consider a consult with a lawyer. You might be able to get a cash settlement for the value of your truck, on the argument – legitimate, in my view – that it is useless to you because it is dangerous, the result of their defective product.

      • Hi eric, a friend of mine got a letter from Ford notifying him of his defective airbag. He took his brand new Ford Explorer in, and they gave him a Ford F-150 crew cab as a loaner until his Explorer was repaired. Three months later, he’s finally got his Explorer back, but now his wife thinks that she would rather have the more expensive F-150 instead. lol.

      • eric, it is Ford’s fault, and everyone else since they knew of the dangers not long after beginning to use them. While I don’t see them completely to blame, they used defective parts, and as such, are responsible. If any other part they have made by outside sources(all of the parts on every vehicle)is defective they are responsible for not making sure it isn’t. And they should sue the manufacturer of said part to recoup their losses due to suits.

  2. Hi Eric,

    Do you know of anyone asking for compensation for non-use? I’ve kept my car parked for quite a while waiting on the dealer to have the right part.

    Ford did not have a correct passenger-side bag for several cars (including my ’08 Mustang) until recently. Now we are getting very panicky mail from Ford to get the right side dash bag replaced. And I have been too busy to take the car in. (The lovely Christmas card Ford sent my wife is a keeper: Happy Holidays and come get your airbag replaced!) I had them do the steering wheel bag a couple of years ago, but no one has sat in the passenger seat with the engine on for a very long time…

    Best, Scott

    • Document the costs to you of their indolence and file in small claims court, after the vehicle is returned.
      If FMC was the case of the problem, they can seek reimbursement through their dealer contract.

  3. Being a disappointed capitalist, I see a wonderful entrepreneurial opportunity here.
    If the same federal government that mandates these murderous devices can’t maintain the requisite records to track them to the junkyard, there are organizations that have the resources and potential to do so, for a price.
    Of course, we’d all probably be better off if the mandates were to become extinct instead.

  4. I’ve received notification that my 2008 Ford Edge needs to have its airbags(s) replaced. Supposedly it will be done at no cost; I need only make an appointment at the nearest Ford dealership. Alas, the nearest is 50-60 miles away. Do you car guys recommend I do it? I mean, is it really necessary? If I knew how, I’d gladly remove or disconnect the bag(s) myself . . .

    • Hi Flo,

      Yes, the work will done at no charge (defect) and I strongly urge you to have it done. Your car literally has a ticking time bomb in the dash. It could kill you. I am the farthest thing from a Safety Nazi, but this is serious.

      As Arnold would say: Do it! Do it now!

      • T’was me, I’d refer to one of the many aftermarket automotive manuals and castrate the system myself. All it would take is disarming the firing mechanism. Without the firing mechanism, the airbag is about as dangerous as a Black Cat at point blank range.

      • My understanding was that these things could self-detonate from chemical decomposition, and don’t need electric signal to explode ???

        • Hi Anonymous,

          Yes – and it’s a potential problem with all air bags – not just the “defective” ones. I even found warnings (since redacted) in the owner’s manuals of certain cars that advised replacing the bags at 12 years or so for exactly this reason.

          • so at 12 years old all cars become effectively junk because they are economically un-repairable ???

            Geez, and I thought we could just drive our 2006 until it died …

  5. I noticed that they keep track of those who are killed by air bags when the vehicle is moving slow or stopped, but they never calculate or even suggest that they could be responsible for deaths when the vehicle is involved in a collision over 15 or 20 mph. I suspect many more are a direct result of the air bag rather than hitting anything else.

    I’ve also noticed that these kids who have “riced” or “tuned” their cars and engage in numerous aftermarket modifications to their cars have no problem removing their stock steering wheel and replacing it with a sporty GT steering wheel that clearly and obviously has no place for an air bag. I haven’t heard of anyone complaining of being ticketed for not having a driver side air bag in their car. These kids also know how to clear, reset, or just plain rig the computers in these cars to behave as if the car does have air bags installed. No tripped codes for defective or missing air bags, modified exhaust, etc. Unless you’re living in one of those states where the revenue generators are working for the Gestapo(California, NY etc.), it doesn’t seem to be an issue.

  6. I’d like to know the number of unborn children killed by these air bags. Do they keep the numbers on that anywhere? I ask because I know of two women who lost unborn children to airbags, both got settlements and it was hushed up. If I had to bet, I’d guess that far more unborn children are killed by these bags than anyone knows about and that it’s a whole lot more than the handful of adults killed by them.

    At the very least there needs to be an off switch for pregnant women. And nobody who is pregnant should be in any of these vehicles until that happens.

  7. Where is Ralph? He’s busy trying to get the people to force Trump out for cutting taxes, “bigotry” and for getting out of the Paris accord, etc. etc. etc. He was also one who fell for the “Russians are coming” nonsense and seems to be rather butthurt it didn’t work out. Now he’s calling for a million people to march on the White House and toss Trump out for being a mean guy and turning toddlers into bullies or something like that, it’s all rather confusing really. But here it is in his own words, from a once respected man to this, how the mighty have fallen.

    • Brad, I feel so much better now that taxes have been cut…..for the rich who will continue to ride on the backs of those who aren’t rich. Now, maybe shutting down the border will mean the death knell for American auto-makers and countless other manufacturing and assembly plants on both sides of the border. If he wanted to do something useful, he rescind NAFTA to where manufacturing would slowly come back to this country.

    • Ralph, as in Northampton, isbin the Governor’s Mansion in Virginia. He has not only said front holes are only pregnant if they want to be, but they can kill their babies even after birth, if it is inconvenient for them to have responsibility for a child. We now live officially in a CLOWN World.

      • Hi Saxon,

        I would not call it a “clown” world. I would call it a nihilistic, hyena-pack world in which feelings trump facts and subjective wants over-rule moral rights

        • Hi Eric,
          This doesn’t solve the problem though because what we see as their subjective feelings are what they see as moral rights, and what we see as moral rights are what they see as subjective, immoral deplorable feelings. It isn’t enough to make the assertion. It has to be proven, and absolutes cannot be objectively proven, hence the commandment forbidding idolatry.

  8. Interesting timing Eric. I was in hospital a few weeks ago resting in my luxurious half room and the guy on the other side of the curtain had just had an incident where the air bag blew then caught fire. He got out but not before being seriously burned on the side of his face and taking shrapnel in the front. His friend was shocked when he came in. He later said well think of the bright side, think of the payout. No fan of lawsuits or lawyers but sometimes people need to get spanked and sometimes spanked hard, me included. Hey, I like the airbags in my Saab, I like the fact it has a five star safety rating but I also like the fact it’s old without the nanny state crap.
    I like I can actually hang my arm out the window and soar the breeze with my hand like we did as kids. I like I can actually see to change lanes by looking outside instead of looking down at a screen. I also love my 86 Nissan, crunched, God only knows how many miles. Just won’t die. No airbags, anti-lock, cameras, etc. Drive mostly around town, haven’t worn a seatbelt for the most part for 2+ years. Don’t get me started on growing up family of six doing cross country in a Dodge Omni little sister sitting on the center console. Think there was a seat belt there? Now, granted grace of God nothing every happened but nowadays, AGW with a gun in hand and lots of visits from CPS if lucky. Nights, in a friend’s convertible Lamanes with my buddy’s Monza next to us screwing around late night doing 120, then back down to 20. Cop pulls alongside, for a mile checking us out. Shakes head, takes off. No beer, no weed, no seatbelt just kids on a hot summer night in Texas screwing around. I get it, most people don’t. Life is a risk. Most people just want to be saved from themselves. Why? Because most people are idiots and that concept scares them to death. I ride hmotorcycles too. These days I try to ride ATGATT but that’s just me. I get the feel, the fun, the freedom of riding the other way and you can do what want to if it suits you. These people though, there’re not just busybodies, nannies, etc. They have a plan, and it doesn’t involve our freedom. They have a corral and they want to herd us into it. We have to push back, get involved. I’m no beaucrat and I hate it, but it needs to be done and now is a good time to start.

    • Hi Johnny,

      Well-said. It needs to be said more. As I have said, repeatedly – the issue is not air bags, as such. Or EVs, as such. Or seat belts or helmets or any of the rest. It is the constant pushing of things by pushy people who cannot abide leaving people free to make their own decisions about things. I call such people Clovers. Southerners once called them Yankees. These people who see themselves as Do Gooders but who are really petit totalitarians, laying the groundwork for the not-so-petit ones.

      It’s been a long time coming, but I think the day has finally come – or is damn close to it.

      I’m doing all I can – and am ready to do more.

      • “Damnyankees” is the word you’re looking for. They’re all over the country now, but all this busybodyism originated in New England puritanism.

        • We have an old anecdote we call “the gospel”, in Texas. There are yankees. They come to visit and then go home. Then there are damn yankees, the ones who love it here and intend to stay. Of course we all know and have known longer than I’ve been alive those yankees come to stay are bringing a buttload of yankeeism and want to foist it off on Texans.

          As a teen I could identify a yankee, esp. one that’s trying to emulate Texans, from a mile away, maybe less when the dirt’s blowing. He’s the guy standing there in Levi’s, too narrow and short to go over anything but his boot tops. Then there is his boots, pure yankee, stocked and sold to such. Then there is his mustache, right out of Hitler’s book of fashion. And then he begins to speak and Texas ears politely turn away and wish him a good day as they’re thinking “WTF did we do to deserve this a-hole?”.

          He’s full of stories, mostly those of how we do things not nearly as well as we could and if we’d just take a page from the yankee rule book we’d be so much better off. All the time he’s thinking how he can “reform” us and better our lives and not once, not a single time, did returning to yankeeland and leaving us in peace enter his mind.

          • One thing I will never understand, is why people destroy what they love without even thinking about it. It’s like a basic understanding of cause and effect is actually a superpower now. New Englanders, Californians, PNW’ers… they get tired of the garbagefests their homes have become, and so strike out for someplace freer and more open. But when they get there, they still want to increase air quality, and conserve water, and help the poor, and preserve wild spaces, and protect endangered species, and stop discrimination, and advance the rights of women, and improve road safety, and replace “dirty” energy with clean, and, and, and, and, and… and even from this tiny, random selection of government-supported “causes”, it’s plain to see how their new home quickly becomes a carbon copy of their old one but under the tourist-friendly veneer of a wild, untamed land. Extortionate taxes? Check. Skyrocketing crime and homelessness? Check. Constant traffic everywhere? Check. Can’t even blink your eyes without some overpaid, underworked regulator waving their finger under your nose and telling you that you did it wrong? Check. Locals completely quitting their livelihoods and favorite hobbies, or even leaving in droves, because they no longer care enough to fight through the maze of rules or the vast herds of casuals?


            So yesterday’s wild west becomes today’s snowflake garbagefest, while the people who caused the transformation grow restless once more and start looking for another place to ruin. It’s happened and is still happening to Alaska. Just from you, it sounds like it’s in the process of happening to Texas. Hearsay from my mother indicates this happened to California and then spread from there to Washington (probably Oregon as well); hearsay from this site indicates it’s happened to Colorado and is starting in Montana. Not many places left to run, at this point – and anywhere you can think of will probably be overrun anyway by the time this is all over.

            • Quoth Joni Mitchell (whom otherwise had little to say that I care for)..”Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone?”

              • By god, Douglas, she did have a thought of wisdom. On a similar note, I used to leave the house commonly at 5 am when the John Boy and Billy Show came on. It was fairly hilarious….to me and it seemed like every time I’d get to the gate, which I would have to unlock, open, reshut and relock, they’d play You’re So Vain by Carly Simon. I used the time to dawdle, do another walk-around just like the one I’d done when I came in and before I cranked it up. But it kept me from hearing most of the song.

                But it would still be going when I got back in the truck and I’d join in and sing “You’re so stupid, he knows damn well this song is about him. You’re so stupid, aren’t you, aren’t you, aren’t you?”.

                I don’t know what we could have done to stop the first mass migration of yankees when RR got into office. Since then it’s been one bad law after the other in this state and much worse bad laws in Ca. and other left coast places so that Texas is now #2 population wise…..goddamnit, Mexicans and yankees.

              • I hope that you aren’t naive enough to think that was something she made up herself, when several generations before her had said the same thing, both here and in her native country.

            • Hey Shotgun Chuck, you’ve probably seen that website showing where people are moving. I left California almost ten years ago, and am currently looking for my next move from Florida. They’re talking about placing meters on our water wells to tax the water as it comes out of the ground on our properties. Every day I see more New York, and Massachusetts license plates clogging up the roads around here. The light turns green and they’re instantly shrieking at the driver in front of them to get the hell out of the way as they hammer on their horn. It doesn’t matter where pissed off people move to. They can’t escape themselves. Those damn Yankees think that by changing the world around them, they can escape their own insanity.

      • To do all one can has to include removing the airbags from one’s car, boat, motorcycle, etc. If the computers can be hacked, (and they most definitely can), no one is going to be able to tell the difference unless they tear the thing apart themselves, and who is willing to take a chance on the silly things exploding in the process? For some reason it has just occurred to me that this is a non starter of an issue for anyone who can clear the codes and remove these things. These kids running around in these “ricers” and “tuners” are not computer hackers either. I watched some guy from O’Rielly’s hook up an OBDII to my Toyota the other day and he was able to clear the codes in less than a minute. Now, none of my idiot lights are on anymore, and no one is going to know that they ever were on. What am I missing here? How is anyone ever going to be able to prove I removed the airbags from my car? I can barely operate my smartphone.

    • Hi Mike,

      Ranting is essential; people need to be made to see. More, they need to be made to understand. Air bags are not without risk, even if not defective. They also come with definite costs. It is outrageous that the decision to weigh risk/reward and cost-/benefit has been taken away from us by force by arrogant busybodies who imagine themselves our parents and us idiot children.

      The whole idea of it has to be upended if we are ever to recover the everyday “walking around” freedoms we once enjoyed and which people who are over 40 today can remember because it existed when they were kids and young adults.

      Yes, there were income taxes and yes the government stuck its nose into myriad things which are none of the government’s business in a free country. But on a day-to-day basis, we were still free to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, smoke, not wear seatbelts and had the expectation that we could go out and drive (or fly) and be left alone unless we actually committed a significant faux pas in the proximity of a cop (there weren’t AGWs in thos days).

      No checkpoints, for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.

      Cars designed for buyers, not the bureaucrats.

      Wind in your hair, on your bike.

      And left the hell alone, to go about your everyday business.

      That could be recovered. It is not “Libertopia.”

      It was America, only 40 years ago.

      • or civil asset forfeiture which proves the constitution is worthless. All the illegals pouring into the country are going to turn it permanent communist just like the places theyre leaving. of course trump has done nothing. just another shyster real estate guy.

        • The POTUS can do little if even his own party stabs him in the back as the GOP leadership has done. And never mind the Dummycrat morons whom have (hopefully temporarily) regained control of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi…what a goddamned EMBARASSEMENT she is to the once-“Golden” state, as if California couldn’t embarrass itself without her!

          As for Sen. “Chuckie” Schumer – if one doesn’t see how an intelligent, cultured people like the Germans could find Nazism appealing, just endure fifteen minutes of this two-faced kosher shithead, and then you’ll wonder why America hasn’t!

      • Hi Eric,

        I’m not disagreeing with you.

        But being aware of the infringements that led to this problem is not the First Thing I’d be worried about. My First concern would be determining whether the car(s) I drive have any of these defective airbags.

        If there was any disparagement in my post, it reflected disappointment that you didn’t bother to provide a source where your readers could check about their own rides.

  9. Great article Eric, thanks!

    Maddening isn’t it, that after getting saddled with all this safety nonsense, highway deaths are INCREASING?

    • Their excuse now, of course, is distracted driving… Like anyone would consider it reasonable to text and surf on a mostly empty highway while rolling along at 55-60 on a road which your grandma would have no challenge doing 100 on. Couldn’t be that? Being trussed in your car like a restrained mental patient- wouldn’t make anyone distraction prone.

      • Oh I know…nuts is what it is.

        Maybe if the manufacturers were not falling all over themselves to make everything controlled by some eye-pad that you have to finger fuck seven menu screens to turn the heat down, that would not be so common.

  10. Checking a few service manuals, and it would appear most air bags can be disabled by ‘opening’ one wire.
    Also, because of how airbags work and are designed to not go off unless in a certain specific situation, its almost always no risk to your person to do a Disable Airbag DIY. You may get a warning light though.
    In my state the inspection would never catch this, and would not care if you had some warning light on.
    But, if the warning light is a problem they are trivial to ‘turn off’ as well.

    You can control your car if you want to.
    Don’t let anyone make decisions for you.

    • I have read that it is possible to disconnect the airbag and substitute a resistor across the leads to make the computer “think” the bag is still connected and thus no warning light. Never tried it though since none of my vehicles are new enough to have been equipped with death bags.

  11. The initially available air bags killed approximately 200 people by snapping their necks, smashing the faces and skulls of kids, the elderly and the height challenged who happened to be too close to the exploding bull shit bomb.

    These things have been available since the 70s and they still can’t get them right.

    • Hi Bostwick,

      Amen. And even if they did “get them right,” they still ought to be optional equipment that people are free to decline – much in the way we are free (for now) to skip HFC-laden sodas in favor of something less risky.

      • If you can, find a restaurant or store that carries Mexican Cokes. These are bottles of Coca-Cola that are made in Mexico. They’re made with SUGAR, not HFC, and you can TASTE the difference. The Mexican Cokes have more vibrant, crisper, sharper flavor that just POPS when you drink it! It tastes like Cokes USED to taste.

        I don’t know if they’re available down in VA, but in my part of the country, you can get Boylan’s sodas. They’re made with sugar, and they taste a lot better than the HFC laden drinks. Here’s Boylan’s website:

        I don’t know WHY Coke insists on using HFC to make Cokes here. If they used sugar, I’d buy it and drink it more often. I think more folks would. It would be better for their bottom line. Until then, I’ll buy Mexican Cokes wherever I can find ’em…

        • Alaska checking in, pretty much every grocery store (big box, import, or otherwise) sells Mexican Coke, not sure about the gas station quickiemarts. Sprite and Orange Fanta too. I’ve heard of Boylan’s but not really paid attention to where I can get them.

          Even better, the Mexican ones come in glass bottles, shaped like Coke bottles used to be shaped! No phthalates… phtalates… uh, plasticy stuff leaching into your drink, and you can’t deny that glass bottles are cooler too.

          • Maybe they do in the US. When was the last time you were in Mexico? Over 15 years ago when I stayed there a while I was inundated by the populace drinking orange and Coke drinks…..out of plastic bottles. The only thing I drank in Mexico of glass was beer, not great beer, but beer I could find. It was a shame Negro Modelo dark was the best beer available in nearly every place I went. Sol wasn’t too bad but Corona came from that same line of horses my grandaddy warned me about. What a dose. And now they sell it to gringos as a “special” beer. Yep, it’s special alright, just like it was in the early 70’s when it came across the border in trucks barely able to do 10 mph and so hot inside they had to cap those bottles with steel. Every time I see somebody in the US coughing up big buck for Corona I chuckled a little “whinny” to myself. Give it enough hype, color it wildly and you could sell chicken fried cat turds for $10/lb… the ounce or gram. No, it’s probably more than that.

            I was once coming home with a crew in the patch and we stopped at a convenience store to get some beer. Everybody was looking at the various products of jerky when one guy said out loud ‘God, this stuff is more expensive than dope”. I laughed my ass off. He was right.

      • I wish that too, Eric. I had the choice of getting ABS on the last new car I bought in 2005. And I declined. Just auto, AC and I splurged in one area: floor mats.

        Now there’s no escape from Nanny…. but the floor mats are still optional.

    • Engineers know how to get them right. The federal government does not allow it.

      The reason IMO that the passive restraint mandate (which later the automatic seatbelts were dropped from) was the last time automakers fought uncle is because it when they became aware that the busybodies were willing to kill people and simply lost the desire to fight.

      The problem with the unbelted male standard for airbags was known before the mandate. The automakers fought it. They knew. They knew from the 1970s. Claybrook, Nader, and the rest of them were told. They insisted the airbags stop an average or was it median adult male who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt from being killed by smacking into the windshield.

      So the busy bodies got their way and people started being killed almost immediately. Since then we’ve gotten all these rube goldberg systems so the government doesn’t admit error. We get back seat laws for children. Safety and booster seat laws. Just more and more crap instead of admitting the unbelted male airbag standard is wrong.

      So if air bags are to work they must be depowered considerably. They would only work with seat belts.

      But that won’t happen. Uncle says so.

      As to takata the problem is the chemistry they decided to use. But they knew the risks and problems. And fed gov didn’t treat them nearly as badly as VW.

      • Great summary, Brent. I remember the articles in MT and C&D at the time debating having something exploding in one’s face to save his life.

        What are a few casualties for the greater good ? /sarc

  12. I don’t have a problem with the saaafety equipment itself,,, it’s the ‘freedom’ of choice. Years ago even air conditioning was a option. Today it seems any damn dogooder can take my choices, restrict my freedom, or tell me I simply can’t have it. Of course, It’s all done to protect me from myself but I have to pay for it,,, whether I want it or not. From guns to vaccinations, smoking whatever, drugs, alcohol, speech,,, you name it, they control it or try to. Jesus,,, Honda Goldwing even has an option for an airbag. I imagine it will soon be mandatory. lol. How’bout electric emergency brakes? Not to long ago they had to be all mechanically controlled. What do they have against cables? My new Road King just had a recall on its hydraulic clutch. Cables don’t leak, don’t need flushed every 2 years, usually last longer then the bike if oiled every now and then.. Even the damn throttle is electronic. What happens if Mr. Digital determines I want full speed ahead! That can’t happen with cables and it costs (ME) more. How is that ‘saaaaafer’? Can’t happen,,, check out the 737 MAX.

    I am sick of hearing the word saaafety. It’s just another word for control….

      • No shit! I do too. That was back in the days when a factory stereo system sucked; if you wanted anything decent, you HAD to get an aftermarket system from Pioneer, Kenwood, et al

        • My Valiant Signet was well optioned in 1963: Radio, heater and whitewalls.

          No one really comprehends “stripped” any longer.

          Now it means lacking a sun roof.

  13. I can’t relate to being so arrogant that I cannot admit a mistake. I’m human; I make mistakes all the time. How can these people not admit their humanity? Maybe they AREN’T human?

    • Hi Mark,

      Well, one is, as Eric pointed out, that they believe that admitting to being wrong may undermine their credibility. Another is that agencies develop around the regulatory cult, funding provided for “research”, etc… There’s a lot of money in “legally” bullying others.

      They won’t admit that they were spectacularly wrong about low fat/high carb diets, the predicable result of which was a big increase in sugar consumption. Americans actually did adjust their diets. Meat and fat consumption went way down, as did full fat dairy. Grain, sugar and fruit consumption went up. Sugar, we were told is a neutral/empty calorie. We should limit consumption in order to lower caloric intake, not because of the metabolic response it causes, which was well known at the time. Sugar (and carbs in general) causes an insulin response which tells the body to store calories as fat. On a high sugar diet, some calories are “partitioned” to fat storage, some to maintaining metabolic function. The result is that people get fatter and hungrier. The rise in obesity and diabetes correlates directly which this change in diet.

      If the government were actually concerned about our health, you’d think funding would be allocated to research this strong correlation. But no, those who warned of the dangers of a low fat, high carb diet were ignored. Skeptical nutrition scientists were vilified and lost their funding. Researchers like Gary Taubes, Peter Attia, Jason Fung, etc… were shouted down as deniers, quacks and frauds. Does this sound like anything else?

      The first imperative of government is self perpetuation. Regulatory agencies attract corporate rent seekers, researchers know that they will not get funding unless they confirm what has already been decided. Bureaucrats protect themselves under the guise of public health or public safety. Revealing themselves to be fallible, threatens all of this.


      • I understand what you’re saying, but I can’t relate to that kind of thinking. I don’t think admitting one is wrong hurts one’s credibility, either. If anything, I would think it enhances credibility, because admitting mistakes shows humanity and the willingness to try a different approach.

        Football coaches make mistakes all the time, and they admit them, albeit tacitly; what do you think they’re doing when they ‘make adjustments’? Are they not admitting that their present approach isn’t working, and they must try something different? Bill Belichick makes adjustments all the time, yet his credibility isn’t undermined; in fact, no one in football has more credibility. The fact that he’s one of the best coaches ever might have something to do with that.

        Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, had to literally try HUNDREDS of things that didn’t work! If he hadn’t been able to admit that something didn’t work, he never would have found his way to what eventually DID work; he wouldn’t have invented the light bulb if he hadn’t been able to keep at it until he found something that worked. Was Thomas Edison less credible because he made hundreds of attempts to invent the light bulb? I don’t think so.

        To me, such a line of thought is ABSURD! Not only that, it’s arrogant. I understand that there are people, especially gov’t bureaucrats, who think like this. I simply cannot relate to it. I may not have learned much, but I have learned this: I am NOT the keeper of all knowledge and wisdom-not by a long shot! I can always learn something new; I can always improve. To me, admitting mistakes isn’t just human; it’s about survival. Would we even BE here if our ancestors couldn’t admit to making mistakes (with hunting, shelter, etc.) and correcting them?

        • Hi Mark,

          Neither can I. However, we live in the voluntary world. If we want something, we must produce something of value for others. We can also initiate force to get it, but that is both immoral and illegal and, if caught, we will suffer consequences. Government rulers, whether elected or appointed, live in the coercive world. They are legally entitled to use force to get what they want. This is not a trivial distinction or difference of degree, it is a difference in kind. They, quite literally, live in a different reality, under a different set of rules, with a different set of incentives. Their behavior is a rational response to the world they inhabit. Note, by rational I do not mean moral.

          Kind Regards,

  14. It’s a pretty simple equation. If your “safety” equipment is actually causing injuries, then it is no longer “safety” equipment.

  15. What if the HOA decides everyone needs to have an ADA compliant wheelchair ramp installed on their house. Because someday, someone in a wheel chair might need access to your home. Maybe old houses will be exempt, but any new house has to have a large ramp designed to be climbable with a wheelchair. How would that fundamentally change the design of houses?

    Dashboards used to be fairly interesting. They had wrap-around cowlings, lots of vents, and nice small steering wheels, especially the hubs. They were long too. Or at least they were all different. Not to mention the big bench seats. These days the cockpit is designed for the airbags, not for drivers. My Cherokee feels like I’m in a child seat. Sure, it’s adjustable 6 ways from Sunday and initially is pretty comfortable, but it’s still holding me in like I’m in a fighter jet. After a few hours driving it starts to get very hard to stretch out, which becomes very fatiguing. I totally get why small children will often struggle to avoid getting back in the car after stopping at a rest area. And the cowlings that surrounded the driver would be perfect these days, much like the Knight Industries 2000. Heck, just look at the steering wheels of formula I cars, they have a ton of controls on them. Something that would be fantastic for operating navigation systems and all the other controls. But again, that would interfere with proper operation of the airbags, so can’t happen. And forget trying to install anything aftermarket, like a CB radio or a trailer brake controller. any blank space is guaranteed to have an airbag behind it. Even under the dash there’s airbags for your knees.

    • That’s also partly due to the assholey gigantic consoles the manufacturers add to their thick A, B and C pillars, slit windowed “coupe” like styling. Even on SUVs now.

      I’ll keep my 56, 33 and 14 year old rigs and take my chances. My cars my choice.


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