How “Safety” Requirements Make Your Car Less Actually Safe

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The government enacts laws – or issues regulatory fatwas – requiring that new cars comply with various “safety” standards. Ironically, the result of these standards – in terms of vehicle design and otherwise – may just be cars that are less safe to actually drive.

For example, you may have noticed that the beltline (door height) of the typical new car is higher up than was typical in the past. This makes it feel as though you’re sitting lower in the car, as you’re surrounded by a bathtub of steel. (No more resting your arm on the top of the door as you drive with the window rolled down.) Beltlines  are higher to meet increasingly stringent side impact standards. But for every action, there is a reaction.

First, there’s aesthetics:

To maintain reasonable overall proportions, the designers abbreviate the vehicle’s side glass height to make up for the higher doors – and rake the front and rear glass. You get a “chopped” look. (Otherwise, the vehicle would look overtall.) But reduced glass area means decreased visibility – and this along with the now-commonplace steeply raked glass (in particular, the rear glass) results in a diminished view that’s also frequently distorted on top of that.

You can’t see as much – and what you do see isn’t seen as clearly.

Another factor impinging negatively on visibility is the growing thickness of the car’s A, B and C pillars (roof crush standards – as well as making room for side-impact air bags) in addition to taller/thicker seat headrests (whiplash). In several new (2013) cars I’ve driven recently, it is very hard to see cross traffic coming at you from either side -  making it much more dangerous to enter a busy intersection. Blind spots are larger, too – requiring more situational awareness of drivers – who are not infrequently more aware of their sail fawns than what’s going on around them as they drive.

You have to drive an older car to get a sense of how much has changed. The other day, I went for a ride in my friend’s ’63 Buick Special sedan. You felt like you were in a greenhouse. Excellent visibility all around. They used to make “pillarless” sedans – no B pillar at all – so when you rolled down the front and rear side glass, the entire area was completely open. Not anymore. It’s illegal.

Apparently being able to see is less important (to the government) than what happens when you roll the car – even though you are far less likely to roll the car if you can see.

Unfortunately, we consumers aren’t permitted to decide for ourselves what’s most important – even though it’s our lives at stake. Even though it’s our money being spent.

The government has tacitly admitted there’s a problem – caused by itself – by demanding that all new cars be equipped with closed-circuit TV systems (back-up cameras) for the simple reason that it’s increasingly difficult to see what’s behind you when you’re backing up a new (government-approved) “safety” vehicle. But that Band-Aid causes its own slew of problems, including limited peripheral view and a distorted view relative to what a functioning human eye connected to an operating human brain would otherwise perceive. It is much harder  (if not impossible) to see a kid on a bike coming down the sidewalk into the path of the backing-up car – because the camera has a limited field of vision. It can’t “see” the kid until the kid is within its narrow field of vision. By which time, it is already too late. Drivers who rely on the camera rather than their own two eyes may end up having a very tragic morning some day.

A lower beltline – and larger rear glass – would arguably be a lot safer. It would certainly cost less (back-up cameras are expected to add at least a couple hundred dollars to the purchase price of a new car, as well as increased down-the-road maintenance costs since the systems will have to remain in operational condition – as a government required “safety” feature – for the life of the vehicle.)

Here’s another one: Most new cars no longer carry a full-size spare tire. Not as a result of “safety” mandates – but because of pressure to comply with fuel efficiency mandates. A full-size spare is pretty heavy. A mini-spare is half or less the weight. So, what’s the problem? Driving around on three normal-sized tires and one skinny minny often results in a very evil-handling (and braking) car. Most new cars come with pretty aggressive wheel/tire packages. Seventeen and eighteen inches being pretty much the norm – along with at least 60-something series tires. You hit a roofing nail and one goes down. You put on the mini – which  might be literally half or less the width of the normal tire and with a completely different (temporary use only – it says so right there on the sidewall) tread pattern/design. You have to be extra careful – and hope it’s not necessary to brake suddenly or swerve. Because if you do, the car will probably react weirdly. If you’re not ready for it, you might end up in the ditch.

But, your car got one-tenth of an MPG better gas mileage.

Thank Uncle for that as you wait for the wrecker.

Throw it in the Woods?

 

 

 

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  173 comments for “How “Safety” Requirements Make Your Car Less Actually Safe

  1. John Illinois
    October 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Back in the ’60s, when the government was first starting to decree
    “safety design”, congress held hearings. They heard from lawyers, professors, and lots of credentialed people like that. The people they never talked to–Nascar builders and drivers–people who actually built and survived really spectacular crashes, and knew a little something about building safe cars.

    • October 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Yup –

      But, for me, the underlying issue is simply this: A safe driver is much better than a “safe” car. A skilled, alert driver – even if he’s in a flimsy little car like, for instance, an old Beetle – is far less likely to be injured than the inept, addled driver in his “safe” car.

      • James
        October 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm

        It isn’t just that – it’s also the hermetically-sealed passenger compartment, designed to eliminate road (and other) noise. Just when one needs to be *more* aware of their surroundings, cars are designed to make one *less* aware. Hence, texting while driving – people are unaware of their surroundings, isolated from what is going on around them, giving them the time and opportunity to text.

        I’ll take a 2-star rating and no airbags over a 5-star rating and airbags galore, any day of the week.

        • methylamine
          October 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm

          You make a good point James. My wife’s Infiniti is more quiet than my car; just a little softer, a little more isolated…and I find myself wandering mentally when I’m driving it.

          My father-in-law’s minivan is the epitome of comfort and isolation, and I have to FORCE myself to remain aware I’m driving and not lounging in a living room.

          The M5 and the Miata on the other hand both remind you every millisecond that Hey! McFry! You’re driving, pay attention!

          It’s not only safer, it’s more engaging and more enjoyable.

          I’m with you 100%–give me a noisy-engined, stiffly-sprung 2000-pound death-trap and I’m happy.

      • joeallen
        December 9, 2012 at 9:30 am

        My sister has been a nurse for 36 years. She is seeing numerous cases of older people with neck damage caused by side and top airbags that suddenly jerk their head sideways. Many of these people would have had fewer and less severe injuries without the airbags blowing their heads sideways.

        • December 9, 2012 at 10:15 am

          Hi Joeallen,

          And “if it saves even one life.” Right?

          Nope. Because the logic they use against us can never be applied to them.

          Air bags have killed. Not many, but tell that to those six feet under. The effrontery of a government that takes the choice out of people’s hands is just… titanic.

          • BrentP
            December 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

            A statist views people as statistics. If they can say it saved more people than it killed, it’s a good thing.

            However, in product liability in the productive world that doesn’t cut it. But government is special, so we have government mandates and standards for things. Because if the government says it’s ok, then the company is not liable for the harm it causes provided it meets the government’s rules.

            Vaccine crippled you? Too bad. Government said it was Ok. Airbag killed you? Too bad. Government made the one size fits all standard. That’s how it works. Government gives it’s blessing, if you don’t fit the mold government had in mind, too bad. You should have altered your DNA to conform to the government standard.

    • BrentP
      October 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Politics….
      Often they won’t even listen to the degreed and experienced engineers that do. They’ll listen to social climbing good at school engineers who couldn’t design their way out of a wet paper bag. Why? Because the good at school will tell them what they want to hear. They certainly will not talk to an undegreed engineer who is self taught.

      • MoT
        October 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

        This reminds me of a story my late dad told me long ago from his days in the Air Force. It seems that “book lernin” engineers, for all of their smarts, really had no idea what it took to operate their own equipment. He said that they had to bring them in, as he was in ground control, and see exactly how the man at the wheel had to do it and what kind of hoops he had to jump through. What looked good on paper wasn’t the case in real life.

        • Scott
          October 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

          “First of all, you got the flow system all reversed. Let me guess. You’ve been tearin’ up rotors and you can’t figure out why?”

          – Harry Stamper, “Armageddon, 1998

    • October 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Yeah, ain’t it awful that we don’t still have the single-chamber brake master cylinder. Think of all the fun we used to have when ALL the brakes went out at once. Clover

      And there is something to be said for the “steering column through the chest” phenomenon, in a minor collision. Non-colapsible columns were so much more economical, too.

      I miss the skull-penetrating dash knobs. Real men didn’t wear seatbelts, anyway. Oh, I forgot, nobody even HAD seatbelts, so neither did the kids sitting or standing in the front seat. Kids were so much tougher then.

      • October 25, 2012 at 10:50 am

        Albert,

        You miss the point entirely. “Safety” is much more affected by the skill/attentiveness of the driver. Band-aiding bad driving doesn’t solve the problem – and creates its own problems.

        Moreover, my “safety” is none of your business. If you want 11 air bags, great. Buy them. But how about not forcing those of us who don’t want them to buy them?

        Or is that asking too much?

        • jeff
          October 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

          The safety thing has turned into some kind of weird cult. New pronouncements and mandates on saaaafffteeeyyy are accepted as an unambiguous improvement in living standards. The classic ‘broken window fallacy’ is applied mercilessly to auto equipment standards. When presented with the absurdity which is modern automotive regulation, the knee jerk clover-response is to daydream about yet-thicker nets of regulation that could fix the shortcomings of the previous regulatory tomes. And increase saaafffetyyyyy.

          The most recent example I can think of, of this contradictory net or regulatory bosh is this conversation! The safety standards might be problematic and costly. But we must encourage each other to follow them, for we now bear much of the cost of each other’s health care.

          Now go put on your helmet. You’re making me nervous :)

        • Eightsouthman
          October 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm

          I saw an hilarious cartoon 25 years ago showing a cowboy on a horse that complied with OSHA reg’s. It was hilarious. Wish I had it to share will you.

          • October 26, 2012 at 1:21 am

            Ask and ye shall receive.

          • MoT
            November 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

            Damn funny! Thanks.

        • Devon
          October 28, 2012 at 2:57 am

          When society has to pay for expenses for disabilities YOU may recieve in an accident, I’m pretty glad YOU’re in a car that won’t cut YOUR legs off if you get in a wreck.

          That being said, the real solution here is to actually ensure that everyone on the road understands that driving is a privilage that can end a person’s life, teach them what to do in an emergency, and give them real life experience and tests over these situations before they get on the road. This is the reason a lot of Europe has much lower rates of traffic accidents.

          Of course, you probably don’t want that, either, because the government has no place worrying about your safety, even when it affects the safety of those around you…

          • October 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

            Devon,

            Underlying your statement in defense of coercive collectivism is more coercive collectivism. That is, your premise that “society” must be forced at gunpoint to pay for the irresponsible actions of people. Why should this be so? Instead, why not allow free individuals to freely choose – and be responsible for any consequences? For the same reason that you have no right to stick a gun in my face and tell me to “buckle up,” I have no right to stick a gun in your face and tell you “help pay my medical bills.”

            That’s liberty, Clover.

        • Cire
          May 9, 2014 at 3:09 pm

          Ye4s you do miss it eric. See, it is impossible to be 100% at your best 100% of the time. Even if you THINK you can do it, you can’t. No one can. I bet you would say that you never listen to music. You never have people talking in the car. You don’t drive in the rain right? And forget about snow. I bet you absolutely never speed either. And here is where I call you a complete liar.

          You are clearly 1 who does not care about facts and that is ok, government needs more people like you who don’t care about facts. It makes it easier to keep you sidetracked on car safety while real, important issues go right past you.Clover

          The fact is, cars today ARE safer. Despite speed limits that continue to climb, auto deaths continue to drop. Injuries also continue to drop. Sorry but the facts are there, unless your “facts” come from a source such as Faux news. Accidents will always happen, no matter how safe a person THINKS they are, indeed those that think they are safe drivers are probably some of the least safe. Safety advances have made a very noticeable difference. Sure, some might have other consequences but almost everything has some sort of trade off. Take a look at the meds you are or have been on, some pretty good side effects I bet.

          Another fact is that cars today are much safer than older cars. I know a lot of people that believe as you do. Then I show them comparative accident trials and what do you suppose happens? The old car gets its tail handed to it and the person makes up some sort of excuse as you do about the driver being the important part, while predictably leaving out the fact that people are human and screw up.
          Clover
          I currently have a car that is poor on visibility, oddly enough ,after 8 years I have not had a single accident in it. Wanna know why? Because unlike you, I learn to adapt to the vehicles I drive. I learn the weak points and how to compensate. THAT is what makes a good driver that is safe.

          I know you only want people who parrot as you do, so I won’t bother checking back on this as you or some other knob will just try to counter with more fallacies that make you feel better about yourself.

          For the record, I also ride motorcycle. Thirty years and no crashes. Most likely, I am a safer, better driver than you could ever hope to be.

      • dom
        October 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm

        Thanks for the laff Albert!

      • skunkbear
        October 26, 2012 at 1:02 am

        Yes Albert, no innovations, safety or otherwise, would ever occur without the federal government putting a gun to the head of car manufacturers’ heads and demanding them.

        Progress is only made through the superior intellect of the all wise Clovers like yourself, right?

        And just out of curiosity, where exactly in the Constitution does the fedgov have the authority to dictate to the people what type of car they must drive?

        Show your work.

        • Devon
          October 28, 2012 at 3:05 am

          Do you realize how much fighting it took to get basic things like seatbelts installed on cars?

          Companies knew fully well how to make cars safer, but did not do so until they faced considerable pressure from the government and from people.

          • October 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

            Devon,

            Your statement makes no sense. If a large enough number of people wanted, say, seat belts, do you really believe the automakers would not have pounced on the opportunity to sell them to people? If Ford sold seat belts, but GM did not and most people freely wanted to buy seat belts, then GM would lose customers. Right?

            The fact is government created the “demand.” Air bags, for example. They were initially offered on the free market. But not enough people were interested in freely purchasing them. The government then mandated them. Now everyone is forced to buy them. That’s your world, Clover, not mine.

          • methylamine
            October 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm

            Devon let’s forget cars and talk about a different market for a moment.

            For example:

            Do you realize how much fighting it took to get basic things like raisins added to bread?

            Food companies knew full* well how to make bread tastier, but did not do so until they faced considerable pressure from the government and from the people.

            See? No government needed. If people wanted raisins in their bread, companies would be damn foolish not to add them pronto.

            Why must you rely on coercion, couched in threats of violence, to obtain your ends? Because ultimately all government “mandates” are backed with violence.

            Sure–there may be many steps from “thou shalt add airbags” to “federal police, we are armed…blam-blam-blam!”–but the steps are there.

            Isn’t that a rotten way to run a society?

            * Took the liberty of correcting from “fully”

  2. mikehell
    October 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    It’d be nice to see a graphic illustration of the evolution of car “safety” and all the downsides that has entailed. A cool little video summary might be a hit.

    • Scott
      October 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Yep. I’d like to see a simulation (a “dramatic re-enactment”) of the safety board discussing putting airbags in 747s. That should be a real hoot.

      • Al Sledge
        October 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

        Helmets! Don’t forget to mandate helmets for air passengers. Remember 80% of all fatalities are from head injuries and if it improves survivability on motorcycles, it will work in airplanes. Its worth it if we save one life. Think of the children! Frankly I’m amazed they don’t require helmets for people in cars. (Yet!)

        • BobJ
          October 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm

          In the 70′s most fatalities in air crashes were from poison fumes from the plastic in the aircraft. Has that changed?

          • Scott
            October 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

            Actually Bob, as I understand it they replaced the seats in airplanes with ones that don’t outgas cyanide when they burn. They use a different kind of foam.

          • Scott
            October 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm

            And yes, that’s an example of an NTSB mandate that didn’t involve reducing pilot error, so I concede my overstatement.

            I must embrace humility…

          • joeallen
            December 9, 2012 at 9:39 am

            Many lives in airplane crashes could be saved by reversing the seats. This would allow the seats to absorb impact energy, and reduce the g-forces on the body, which is what does the damage. After all, airplanes only move forward in flight.

        • BrentP
          October 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm

          Try using that one against the bicycle & motorcycle mandated helmet crowd. It’s fun.

        • James
          October 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm

          And only about 30% of motorcycle injuries include head trauma – the rest, extremities only.

          Seems that people in cars are in more danger of head injuries than motorcycle riders – yet the “safety features” are mandated to the wrong group.

          • clover
            November 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm

            Maybe I am missing something but if 30% of motorcycle accidents having head injuries then that is huge! Of those 30% how many of them are killed because of the head injury? How many are left to be vegetables by head injuries?

            What I do not get though is all the bike riders who have no protection at all! The cute gal on the back with shorts and a tank top! Not too smart I would say.
            clovercloverclover

          • clover
            November 2, 2012 at 11:27 pm

            Ok Brent, you say accidents are all about lazy drivers? Would you call it lazy not taking your foot off the gas when it is responsible and the safe thing to do? Do you think it is lazy driving to not try to keep out of the blind spot of other vehicles? Do you think it is lazy not to move over when there is an on ramp coming up? Accidents are caused by distracted drivers and guys that do not have a clue how to drive? The decisions that one makes is what causes most accidents. Too fast for conditions, weaving through traffic, not spacing yourself on the roadway properly, speeding faster than all cars around you while weaving through traffic. There is far more accidents caused by poor decisions rather than laziness unless what you do is classified as lazy.

          • November 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm

            Laziness is merely one facet of incompetence, Clover.

            As usual, you vomit up a stew of generalizations and package-deals. Your method of tying one thing that’s neutral (for example, driving faster than a number posted on a sign) with something negative (a wreck) in order to conflate the two things. Thus, “speeding” is – to the Clover mind – necessarily dangerous, ipso facto. But what is “speeding”? To the Clover mind, it is any “speed” faster than the law allows. That’s as far as Clover’s little brain can go.

            I no longer bother responding to you – as such – because you’re ineducable. But I do like to use you as an example, for purposes of intellectual vivisection. For this purpose, you’re rather useful.

        • MoT
          November 3, 2012 at 11:04 am

          Well, in Japan, the last time I saw some cops cruising the streets, and they do it slowly, I saw two with helmets on INSIDE the vehicle while driving. Weirdest thing. Maybe it was a special drill but it looked silly.

  3. BrentP
    October 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    The fundamental problem is one I wrote on ages ago elsewhere. American culture is obsessed with surviving a crash, not preventing it. “Speed Kills” is about crash survival. Drive slow so that people can drive lazy. Look at our resident troll, Clover’s posts. Always about driving slow, yielding to people violating the rules of right of way, leaving room for these idiots, and so on.

    The crash is seen as an act of god. Something that just happens. They are even called “accidents”. Some might have noticed that I use the terms crash and collision because they aren’t acts of god unless it’s a collision with something the wind stirred up or a deer runs into the side of your car. Because a crash is considered by most to be just an accident everything is skewed to surviving it.

    Because of these beliefs few will even notice the downsides for a good long time and when the safety crowd finally does do look out… a new round of government regulations will result. That’s what they do every time one of their interferences causes problems. They just make more regulation, more law.

    One thing I’ve noticed in my ’12 is that there is a lot more reflection of the dash in the windshield. Under the wrong light conditions it can be kind of annoying. The long dash and angle of the windshield are the likely reasons. The dash thickness from cowl back is getting to be huge. Because my cars are spread out ’73,’97,’00,and ’12 the growth is really noticeable. I don’t know if it is just crush space or what…

    • Scott
      October 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Excellent point Brent and I think maybe one we’ve discussed before? I recall a thread comparing the development of aircraft safety measures with the path taken by automotive engineers. In aircraft, the idea of surviving a crash was abandoned long ago since it just isn’t possible to build a flying tank. As a result, all aircraft safety measures focus on reducing pilot error.

      Somewhere the NTSB lost track of that approach with cars. Maybe it has something to do with the quality of the operators, but I think it’s just idiocy on the part of regulators.

      • October 25, 2012 at 9:10 am

        It is possible to build a flying tank, and in fact working proof of concept prototypes were built in the 1930s and ’40s. It just turned out better to make heavy duty transport aircraft and light tanks that could go in them. But actual tanks are even more of a death trap in accidents than cars are and are more likely to have accidents; they are only safer against enemy action. Someone I was at school with drowned in a tank during training.

        • Scott
          October 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

          OK P.M., you called my bluff :) It’s difficult to reduce military behavior to the absurd in the pursuit of comic effect since the military is always far more absurd than any rational person could imagine.

          Two points.

        • Douglas
          October 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm

          Re: building a flying tank – the late Andrei Tupolev once remarked that he could hang large enough turboprop engines on a combine and make it airworthy. Judging by some of the designs of the Tupolev bureau, he must indeed have been so directed.
          What’s often missed is that it’s the driver’s choice as to the crashworthiness of his ride, and the willingness of his insurer. As can be shown by the example of the Tucker, the private sector can and does innovate with regard to safety, often better than any diktat issued by the “enlightened ones” inside the Beltway.

    • Steve
      October 26, 2012 at 12:22 am

      “Speed Kills” most certainly also applies to crash prevention!

      When visibility is obstructed, people can easily over-drive the visibility of, for example, vehicles pulling out of driveways.

      I have this experience where I work: no intersections or traffic control for about a 2 mile stretch, but there are cars parked on the street, parking lots with driveways connecting to that street, a bend in the road, and pedestrian crosswalks.

      Every now and then people who think that the government is ALWAYS wrong about speed limits for safety reasons, or just plain don’t care about safety, drive down this nominal 30mph street at 60-90mph.

      When someone pulls out of a driveway, it’s a roll of the dice as to whether or not there’s going to be a collision, because it’s impossible for the two drivers to see each other past the parked vehicles before their fate is sealed, when the one is travelling so fast.

      I’ve seen the results of more than a few vehicles crashing on this particular road.

      And unfortunately, at least a few pedestrians have been hit in the crosswalks by speeders coming around the bend as well.

      This is just one example, there are all sorts of visual obstructions, bends in the road, etc…

      Another instance is that when vehicles are travelling at dramatically different/unexpected speeds related to other traffic, so that when people are checking their mirrors, or trying to turn/merge with traffic, they drastically misjudge how long it takes excessive-speeders to reach them.

      In these instances, speed kills, both from the collisions being otherwise preventable, as well as from excess kinetic energy.

      • BrentP
        October 26, 2012 at 1:41 am

        “speed kills” is not about prevention except if you mean the clover mindset that everyone else should go slow so they can violate right-of-way rules as they see fit and not get it.

        Tell me exactly how many collisions based on idiots driving exceedingly faster than conditions allow your government’s speed limit signs have prevented? I’ll guess it’s zero. The signs are there yet the idiots still do it. You just wrote as much.

        But you mention something else, why is that people think the signs are wrong so much? Because they are. Simple as that. Near me 8 lane interstates and crappy two lane roads out a bit from the built up areas have the same speed limit, 55mph. Why is this? Because “speed kills” and all the reasons behind it.

        When someone in BMW is coming up on me at 120mph I can tell they are coming up on at 120mph. Those who can’t really shouldn’t be on the road as far as I am concerned. Judging speed, gaps, timing, etc is part of driving. People in Germany aren’t super humans yet the autobahn has everything from a 2CV or old bug to the latest supercar on and is safer than the US interstate system. In the USA where “speed kills” some idiot will waddle out into the left lane for no apparent reason. It’s not like that on the autobahn.

        Ultimately “speed kills” is part of this “accident” mentality where people refuse to take responsibility and put effort into driving properly.

      • October 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

        Steve,

        The government cares about revenue – and posts speed limits accordingly. At best, they are posted based on the least common denominator – the abilities (rather, the lack thereof) of the most inept Clovers possessed of a license to drive. Enforcement, to a great extent, is not based on actual harm done or even plausibly threatened – bur rather on the fact of a statutory violation (as is true of 90 percent of law in this county today).

        Thus people are routinely ticketed for no real reason – other than their having exceed an arbitrarily set, often deliberately under-posted speed limit.

        By any reasonable standard, if we are to have speed limits, they ought to be exactly that: The maximum velocity under absolutely ideal conditions, assuming a top-notch driver in a top-notch car, etc. But what do we actually have? We have speed limits that are typically set 5-10 MPH below the normal flow of traffic. Think about this a bit. On any given road, almost all the cars are driving slightly faster than the speed limit. What does this tell you about the speed limit?

        It’s not a limit – in other than a purely contrived, political-legal sense.

        If virtually every car can – and does – trundle along at a pace that is slightly faster than the legally permissible maximum as a matter of routine does it not imply the limit should be considerably higher? The fact that almost everyone – even Clovers – “speed” as a matter of routine speaks volumes about the nature of most speed limits. Widespread, almost universal flouting of any given law is strongly persuasive that the law itself is preposterous. Think Prohibition. Or, closer to home, the 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit for highways that was in force for 20 years. The situation on today’s secondary roads is precisely the same as the situation was on the Interstates during the reign of Drive 55: Near-universal disobedience of speed limits we all know are not limits in any meaningful, real-world sense. Rather, they are political-legal constructs we must pretend to pay lip service to whenever a cop – a revenue collector – is in the area.

        • mithrandir
          October 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm

          Ironically, if a PSL was a more realistic limit, more people would obseve (and respect) it.

          I have also noticed advisories tend to be on the low side as well. (I guess on a curve it is probably better to be 5 mph lower than 5 mph higher. However, I have been able to take some curves at up to 15mph over the posted number with out any difficulty in staying on the road.)

          • methylamine
            October 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm

            It’s a perennial favorite trick of mine–by what factor can I multiply the “speed limit” around THIS curve?

            It’s normally at least 2, often 3, sometimes 4.

            My favorite is a curve of toll road approaching our local TSA hive aka George Bush Intl Airport aka IAH.

            It’s posted at 40. 120 is quite do-able, even sticking to one of its two lanes–and that’s without any drama, maybe 7 or 8 out of 10 on the pucker-scale.

          • BrentP
            October 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm

            In Illinois they are half or less what the ramp can be taken in much of the time. There’s a ramp I can take a 60mph that I think has no better than 30mph advisory. One I can take at 45mph that I think has a 15mph…. I’d have to double check I never pay much attention to those signs because they aren’t worth a damn.

        • Infidel
          October 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm

          When people ask me why I purchase only German cars and do not support the American Auto Industry, my reply is:
          Because US cars are not safe above 120-130Km/h (ca. 75-80MPH). If they were, why doesn’t the Government allow them to be driven faster? German cars are designed, engineered and developed to be driven at their maximum speed so I am much more secure when driving at the walking speeds allowed in the US.

          • BrentP
            October 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm

            German cars are often downgraded for the US market I believe.

            And US cars are fine over those speeds if you drive the right ones… let’s just say I know and leave it at that ;)

      • James
        October 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm

        If Speed truly does Kill, the logical solution is to stop making cars that can routinely exceed the maximum posted speed limits by a factor or 2 or more. . .

        If the Maximum Speed Limit is 55mph, why are cars built that can go 150+?

        If gun makers are responsible for people killed by guns, and cigarette manufacturers are responsible for people who die from smoking, it seems that automakers should be responsible for every death due to “excessive speed.”

  4. John G.
    October 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    “…Most new cars no longer carry a full-size spare tire…”

    Shoot, they are even dropping the ‘doughnut’, now. The Abarth comes with a ‘Tire Service Repair Kit’, and no spare.

    http://www.chrysler.com/hostd/windowsticker/getWindowStickerPdf.do?vin=3C3CFFFH3CT385593

    • MoT
      October 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      That’s nuts. The doughnut barely takes any room up at all.

      • BrentP
        October 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        If the car has big brakes or such the doughnut from the base model can’t clear they put the compressor and tire goo in the trunk.

    • BrentP
      October 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      My ’12 Mustang came with a compressor and tire goo.

      I bought a narrower 18″ rim that clears the calipers and a tire tall enough so the whole thing has the right OD. It’s not really ‘full size’ but it’s a real wheel and tire.

      • jeff
        October 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

        I read an article about GM taking out the doughnuts and providing a can of fix a flat instead with the car. An astute co-worker, upon hearing this, asked me if they make a little dent in the truck with a mechanism to secure the bottle. Or does it just roll around in the trunk?

        • BrentP
          October 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm

          In my car it was just bolted to the place where the doughnut would be. Even used the same attachment hardware.

  5. October 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    You are right that some mandated safety changes can be counter productive. But from this mutually agreed upon premise, we reach different conclusions.

    You would like to minimize any safety based modifications, and make all safety equipment optional, on an “a la carte” basis. Please clarify if I have in any way mis-stated your position. ;-)

    I would like to see a pre requisite that safety changes may only be implemented in a synergistic, evolutionary way, so that the car is overall MORE safe after the addition.

    • October 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      Hi Mike,

      My position is simply this: A car company (or a guy building a car in his garage and looking to sell it) should be under no compulsion to add any “safety” device (or other device/feature). They should be free to build any sort of cars they wish – and let consumers (the market) sort out what’s desired. I have no issue with air bags as such – when they were offered as options available to those who wished to buy them. What I oppose is being forced to buy them.

      • BrentP
        October 24, 2012 at 6:41 pm

        I think it’s very simple education and convincing people is difficult. Force is easy. So do gooders use force. Which of course is perfect for the sociopaths and control freaks.

        • clover
          October 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm

          Brent you are a control freak but you are not a sociopath, you are a psychopath. Below are psychopath behaviors:

          Psychopaths are extremely self-centered.(others need to look our for your law breaking on the roadway)
          Clover

          Psychopaths must always do something to keep themselves from boredom.(road rage)

          Psychopaths are very deceptive and tend to lie continuously.(self explanatory)

          Psychopaths show no remorse of guilt towards their victims.

          Psychopaths are very predatory and usually will live off other people.

          Psychopaths are very impulsive with their lifestyle.
          Clover
          Psychopaths are always blaming other people for their actions.(It does not matter what you do breaking the laws because somebody did something you did not like so it is OK.)

          Psychopaths never have a realistic view of their lives. (king of the world or from another planet)(not my words but they do fit)

          Psychopaths always want psychological gratification in criminal activities.Clover

          Psychopaths tend to try suicide, rarely succeeding.

          • Hugh Mannity
            October 31, 2012 at 11:12 pm

            Gee, that sounds like every politician I’ve ever met.

          • BrentP
            October 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm

            Clover must be lonely.

          • dom
            October 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm

            @BrentP

            Clover’s posts aren’t even worth replying to. Doesn’t he owe both you and Eric a few million dollars still? And Eric a race too?

          • November 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

            Hey Clover –

            Have you ever heard of the term, projection?

            You’ve described (however clumsily) your own self!

            You’re the one who enjoys exerting control over others. You’re the one who believes your value judgments are right not just for yourself – but for everyone else – and should be enforced at gunpoint. You’re the one who routinely dissembles and quibbles – and when challenged, changes the subject. You’re the creep who shows no remorse for the victims of the violence you endlessly espouse. They “deserve” it – and should “obey the law.”

            And of course, you’re the one who revels in that which is criminal – because what you advocate violates natural law, the premise of which is simply: no victim, no crime.

            The thing is, Clover, you’re an archetype. The distilled essence of a profoundly immoral society – one based on violence and coercion, on collectivism at gunpoint.

            And that, Clover, is the Troof and the Facts.

          • clover
            November 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm

            Eric it what is your definition of ” immoral society”? Would you say I am immoral for not tailgating, not weaving through traffic dangerously, not cutting someone off from behind because they were making a turn, not staying in someone’s blind spot forever, not staying in the right lane while someone is merging onto the highway? What is your definition? What do you call drivers like Brent if you call me immoral? Is Brent one of your best friends and the best driver you know?
            clovercloverclover

          • November 1, 2012 at 11:27 pm

            Clover, I have explained it to you at length. Why should I bother to do so again?

            Brief synopsis: An immoral society is one that does not respect the rights of the individual. What rights are those? The right of every individual to be left unmolested – free from any form of physical coercion – unless and until his actions cause an actual harm to an actual person or persons.

            Capece?

          • clover
            November 2, 2012 at 5:12 am

            OK Eric. I understand. I understand why even your family disagrees with you. You say anything goes on the roadway except if it is something you disagree with. If everyone has their own idea of what anything goes on the interstate, what do you have? I guess you have the videos like we see on the internet in countries where anything goes on the roadway. Make up your own lanes and carry a ball bat. Do you really want to live where you have to carry a ball bat or a gun to make people drive the way that you think they should? Clover

            How about airport security? Do we let anything goes there also? Would you do anything when thousands of people are getting killed because you let anything goes and no security? We saw what happens when you do that. Millions of people stop flying because there is a good chance they would not make it to their destination alive anyway. Do you say oh well when that happens? What would your solution have been when millions stop flying because lack of security?Clover

            You call me immoral for backing solutions to get millions of people back on planes? If you have the real solution lets hear it? I am all for things that work. I am not for lack of security because I saw how that works.

          • November 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm

            Clover –

            I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in such a state of perpetual fear. You’re so worried about so many “what if’s?” that you’re willing to accept the sure thing of being lorded over like an idiot child in need of perpetual monitoring by your supposed protectors.

            What’s worse, though, is that you insist everyone else submit to the same treatment – in order to make you feel “safe.”

          • clover
            November 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm

            CloverAgain Eric you do not get it. You say it is a bad thing to live in fear? We know if you point a loaded gun at your head there may be a good chance it goes off so you do not do it. There is a good chance if you have no security on planes then thousands are killed so we have increased security to reduce the risk. Having increased security reduces fear. Millions are now flying because they no longer have the fear. What part of that do you not understand? If there was a 5 percent chance of getting killed when you got on a plane would you fly? 99.999% of other people would not. If there is a one in many millions of a chance of getting killed then a lot more people fly. The fact is without any security the airlines would go broke with a lack of passengers. If you want to shut down the airlines then we can go with your lack of any security.Clover

          • November 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm

            Yes, Clover – I say it is a bad thing to live in fear. Even worse, to let fear trump one’s reason and cause one to surrender one’s dignity and one’s liberty in return for the false promise of “security.”

            It’s something Clovers can’t comprehend, I realize.

          • methylamine
            November 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm

            @Clover–

            I would call you stupid, but that’s unfair to stupid people. Through genetics and upbringing, they’re stupid largely through factors beyond their control.

            No, what you have is much worse; it’s intentional ignorance. You have a mind–the greatest gift in the universe because it’s so rare–and you choose not to use it.

            It’s a sin.

            You’re eight times more likely to be killed by a cop than by a terrorist–so why should you be afraid to fly?

            And who said “no security”? I want security. I want PRIVATE security–what service does government provide that’s better than private? Do you want your packages delivered by USPS, or FedEx?

            TSA lets 70% of weapons through their checkpointsyou have no security.

            But then you don’t know that–because you don’t use your brain.

            I’m so tired of your type’s idiotic, helpless, dependent, emoting foolishness. You’re the ones lining up for food and gas after hurricanes, whining loudly, starting fights. Because you don’t THINK, you don’t PREPARE.

            You abrogate those responsibilities–and you expect the rest of us to live under the resulting hellish dystopias.

            Oh–and you’ll complain about that, too.

            Go vote. It’ll make you feeeeeeeel better.

            Mentally Clovers are the equivalent of a giant walking clitoris; all feeling, no thought.

          • clover
            November 2, 2012 at 5:27 pm

            CloverOK methylamine. You say you want private security? Tell us a security company that is perfect and will give us as good or better security at the same price or less? I am sure any company would have to hire people to do this. Who are they going to hire, the same people we have now? I do not have a problem with private business doing something but it comes with the same problems and at the same time possibly higher costs. It sounds to me like you want a change to the group of people that are responsible for running this? The President or congressmen are not running the day to day operations! Tell them who needs to be replaced and who is better to do it? Clover

            It is nice to complain but you gave us no solution. Private business is a great thing when there are options to select from and are able to replace them if needed but how many companies do you know are capable of such a thing? Use your brain!

          • methylamine
            November 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm

            Wow. Just. WOW.

            I rescind my earlier statement of tolerance.

            You’re not only intentionally ignorant, I now believe you to be stupid, as well–Clover.

            Whether a product of a rough delivery, being dropped on the head, an extensive high-school career of huffing glue, it’s just frank stupidity.

            And a barnyard-animal level of raw, idiotic emotion untempered by that greatest gift of all, frontal lobes–which give us courage.

            How many times can you use the word “fear” in a post?

            And then to project YOUR fear–for a I assure you I have no fear of terrorism–onto millions…

            …that’s Cloverism distilled to 200 proof.

          • BrentP
            November 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm

            Clover, it’s very simple.

            Business A has security like the TSA.
            Business B has security that doesn’t hassle people, treats people well, does what works.

            Soon Business A sees their market share and sales drop.

            That’s why each company should be responsible for its own security. It’s fundamental to the customer experience.

            Government doesn’t have customers. It has victims. It does not have customers any more than a mugger or thief or thug has customers.

            The TSA is run like a mafia protection racket. Which is how much of government works. Except most people subjected to a mafia protection racket fear the mafia, not the fictional imaginary whatever the mafia is supposedly protecting them from. But with government they believe in the boogieman their protectors created.

          • clover
            November 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm

            Nice methylamine. A couple hundred words and you still did not give an answer? I asked what company do you want to use for security? How many security companies are there that would qualify to do the job? Give us a list or get lost! Anyone that complains without giving real solutions are pretty much worthless. You call me names but what have you contributed?

            Brent you are worthless. You want the company to secure itself? If I travel the government represents me because it is part of my company and everyone else. You do not even know what government is! The government is a group that I elect as a manager of things that need to get done the same as any other company would. If you do not like it then vote who would be better or go join another company like China or Russia!
            clovercloverclover

          • BrentP
            November 3, 2012 at 12:26 am

            Clover is amazingly detached from reality. Government represents government. It represents those interests which result in government growing, which result in giving those in government more money and power. It doesn’t represent you. It’s making you pay for the airlines’ security if you fly or not and degrading you as it does so.

            Funny you should mention commie countries. Your government is demanding far more than any paper’s please nation has ever done.

          • clover
            November 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

            OK Brent. You say government is only for government. I am voting on Tuesday how about you? I get to choose who is in my government but I am sure you are not bright enough to vote!

          • November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am

            Clover –

            The only thing you get to do is choose which warden will run the prison. You do not get to choose not to be in prison. But then, I realize that you do not see the prison. Worse, you like the prison.

            Poor deluded Clover….

          • BrentP
            November 4, 2012 at 3:49 pm

            Clover you don’t vote for anything. The agenda is the same between the choices presented for you and who gets ‘elected’ from those choices is the result of what is essentially a black box system.

            Voting in the USA is about ceremony, about illusion. Like in the USSR or a third world dictatorship. You can vote, but the result is the same regardless.

            Furthermore why should a popularity contest determine such important things for so many in a one size fits all fashion? It’s an absurd system even if it was fair and worked as advertised.

            What I find amazing is how easily people are manipulated. The trouble is I can’t bring myself to do it too. Given the way the masses, people like yourself, treat those of us who try and help you, try to get you to see through the manipulations, we should take advantage of you too.

        • Scott
          November 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm

          You’re doing the right thing for yourself and others Brent. Manipulating folks is pretty easy as you know, but it sickens you unless your a resigned sociopath. No one with any sense of empathy can do it. My guess is you probably found out back in grammar school how bad it made you feel and gave it up for life. I know that’s how it happened to me.

          The tragic part is being aware that others are being manipulated, being subject to the result of that manipulation, but not being able to turn the same sword on the aggressors. Clover at least doesn’t suffer the pain; he isn’t aware he’s being harmed.

      • Diogenes
        October 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm

        I tend to agree with you generally, however, once you decide to NOT put in the airbags, or other safety features and are involved in an accident, you will have an army of lawyers who wish to sue the manufacturer for NOT providing the safety features (current technology). Your spouse will cry about your mangled body and you will probably say, “I didn’t understand the ramifications. They should have been made to put them in, in spite of my objections.”
        Everyone wants FREEDOM until the consequences of the decision go bad. Then they want a tort lawyer.

        • October 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm

          Not me!

          My old Pontiac has no air bags or ABS; no computer, no traction control. I’ve had it for 20 years without having a problem. And if something did happen then that would be my problem. Just as I would never sue a ladder maker if I fell after standing on one leg on the very top step, so also would it never occur to me to sue if I happened to be injured in a car wreck caused by my own poor judgment.

          The real problem isn’t the lawyers. It’s that there are so many people out there with no self-respect, let alone respect for others – looking for an excuse to transmute their stupidity into gold.

          • Rick Laudeman
            November 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm

            Hi Eric,

            I sold auto-insurance to non-clovers for a few years. Non-clovers would buy the “basic insurance” for “the law”. When they had an accident, usually with a drunk un-insured driver,the non-clovers would sue me because I did not do a “good
            job of selling them a deluxe policy”.
            It got to be so bad I would avoid selling to the non-clovers.

            Rick

          • November 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm

            Rick,

            If your “non Clover” clients sued you because they didn’t buy adequate insurance then by definition they are not “non Clovers.” They are in fact Clovers of the first order!

          • Rick Laudeman
            November 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm

            Eric,

            Then how can I tell who is a clover or non-clover? The clients claimed they were non-clovers. Do I need to wait until I get sued to find that out? Sometimes when the insured is dead ,it is the Estate that sues. From what you tell me a bunch of people that called themself’s non-clovers are lying to me. When they bought the insurance they signed a staement to the effect that they were non-clovers.

            Rick

          • November 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm

            Simple: The Clover is the one who wants to force you to be responsible for the consequences of his actions (or non-actions). Or who wants to control you (and others), limiting what they may do – or forcing them to do something – on the basis of “prior restraint.”

            Clovers lie, Rick. That’s what part of what makes them Clovers.

          • Rick Laudeman
            November 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm

            Eric,

            Unless I am a mind reader or you are, the question is how, before the lie, can I tell who is a clover or non-clover ?

            As soon as money is ivolved, all the non-clovers turn into clovers.

            Rick

          • November 2, 2012 at 10:02 am

            You make universal – and gratuitous – statements.

            The bottom line is: Don’t treat me (or anyone else who hasn’t given cause) like a Clover because others have shown themselves to be such.

            Would you like to be treated as a presumptive asshole/idiot before you’ve done anything to warrant it?

          • BrentP
            November 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm

            Why would you expect a clover to tell the truth? The troll here whom the class is named after lies frequently.

            When they said they were purchasing the minimum insurance required by law that should have been your first clue. Why? One trait of cloverism is to believe whatever the government says is good enough is good enough. For now. Until the law changes.

            They also believe that the law will turn irresponsible people into responsible people.

            Hence part of the reasoning behind their belief in government mandates.

            So when their belief system starts crashing down after they are hit by an irresponsible drunk who has no assets and no insurance and their own insurance is inadequate, they are going to lash out and sue. Someone else has to be responsible or their belief system will completely crash and burn on them.

            The non-clover depending on his personality will either write the whole thing off or go after the drunk with vengeance. He won’t go after the insurance salesman.

          • clark
            November 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm

            BrentP wrote, “they said they were purchasing the minimum insurance required by law that should have been your first clue.”

            I don’t understand that one. I can think of lots of reasons People do that. Not too long ago, the ‘no insurance’ route was the way to go, was that cloverian? Then in steps goberment demanding everyone have insurance, most/many People went the minimal way. cloverian? I don’t think so.

          • November 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm

            I buy the absolute bare minimum coverage I am forced to by law. Why? I judge my risk of an accident to be very low (haven’t had one since the ’80s) and, secondarily, all my vehicles (except the antiques) are older/higher mileage and so not worth very much. They’d be “totaled’ in anything much beyond a minor fender bender. It makes no sense as I see it to spend $1,000 a year to cover a vehicle worth less than $10,000. I’d rather put as much money aside for other things than send it to the insurance mafia.

          • BrentP
            November 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm

            It’s not about the minimum part. It’s about the law part. The use of the law as a guide, not as a threshold not to be hassled, but regarding what they need.

            Think about the standard clover safety equipment argument. It’s always about the minimum they think everyone should have.

            That’s the message I am getting from Rick’s post. They got what the law said they needed, when it turned out to be insufficient they sued Rick. They used the law as a guide instead of what they had to lose and their risk tolerance.

            They also apparently relied on the other person having insurance, which means they probably didn’t have uninsured motorist, which is optional in most if not all states.

          • November 2, 2012 at 12:04 am

            It’s also a different mindset.

            For example, if I wreck my truck I’ll be pissed – at myself. It would not even occur to me to sue the insurance agent/company for “failing to sell me adequate coverage” – or whatever.

            Personal anecdote: When I was about 19 I was working on my ’78 Camaro. I was leaning over the running engine, adjusting the timing. The asphalt was slightly wet and my sneakers suddenly lost grip, causing me to lose my footing. My right hand went into the running pulleys – took off my pinkie, or nearly so. I had to have it re-attached and the middle joint is permanently fused. Should I have sued Chevy for not placing a guard (or at least, a warning sign) over the exposed pulleys? How about Converse? It never occurred to me. I fucked up. Accidents happen.

            It seems today the first instinct all too many people have is: Someone else must pay! Where’s Johnny Cochran?

          • Scott
            November 3, 2012 at 3:00 am

            Rick I can sympathize with anyone who’s been sued by a clover, I’ve had the honor myself.

            The problem isn’t the policy, it’s the judge. When someone takes you to court for doing what you said you’d do it’s the Judges responsibility to shut them down. That this doesn’t happen is a large part of the clover problem. Clover does it because Judges let him do it.

      • Devon
        October 28, 2012 at 5:46 am

        Because you know, motorcyclists have proven that they will wear helmets in order to reduce the risk of injury or death when they are given the option… =/

        This is a very basic measure that people can take in order to greatly increase their safety, and people fight it constantly. When a person is injured, it costs society resources that would otherwise be put towards more productive ends. When someone gets seriously injured because of something so preventable, it is a huge waste of time, essentially. What makes you think consumers will make a wise choice with other decisions regarding safety? They will buy what is most appealing, and usually this is not what is safest.

        Your premise is flawed. You can argue that the current laws are over-reaching, and I would agree to an extent. But to say there is no place for safety regulations is foolish.

        • methylamine
          October 28, 2012 at 7:04 pm

          The fallacy in your argument–

          “…it costs society resources that would otherwise be put towards more productive ends.”–

          HOW does it “cost society”? Only if society is collectivist. In a free society, my injury doesn’t cost you a dime. Nor should it! By what right may I forcibly extort from you the money to pay for my injury, incurred by my free choices?

          In fact if I have to pay for my own injury, then those resources I could have more productively deployed come from MY pocket…and I’ll damn sure direct them more effectively next time!

          You see, collectivism is the most un-civilizing of arrangements. By making each of us the other’s keeper, it encourages a meanness, a busy-body-ness, an enviousness that turns society vicious.

          Soviet Russia. Maoist China. North Korea. Cuba. Shining examples of collectivism taken to its logical conclusion.

          • MoT
            October 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm

            It’s the “It Takes A Village” sort of collectivist thinking. In essence, by that line of reasoning, you do not own yourself, thus anything the collective does is by its own definition for the “greater good”. The hive-mind writ large.

          • Devon
            November 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm

            If such a debilitating injury is not costing the government, it’s costing their family and those around them. I have known a couple of people who have suffered permanent injury from things that were entirely preventable. In these cases the toll on family members and care takers, as well as the cost of medical care, far far outweighs the little bit it would have taken to simply be a bit safer. When you have motorcyclists not wearing helmets and driving like idiots, there are going to be injuries that, in one way or another, cost society much much more than is warranted.

            How about lets look at some economies where “collectivism”- the idea that we have a responsibility to society, has actually been successful- countries with fairly sound economies even through the recession, very good education systems, universal medical care, and a generally high standard of living- Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Canada, I can go on.

            Stop pointing to authoritarian dictatorships as somehow representative of socialism. It’s a ridiculous comparison to make. That’s like saying Columbia or Somalia are great examples of the results of capitalism.

          • November 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm

            Devon,

            Your premise – the collectivist premise – ultimately relies on coercion. That includes the “soft” socialism you seem to admire. It inevitably leads to the same thing: A gun pointed in the face of any individual who does not Submit and Obey – even though he is absolutely peaceful and causing no harm to anyone. Merely to refuse to comply with orders to do this (or not do that) or to hand over his property for the benefit of people to whom he owes no obligation – sufficient warrant to bring out the truncheons, guns and cages. That is a fact. An ugly fact that hides behind the veneer of your “community.”

            Leaving aside the moral objection, there is this: In the countries you mention (and yes, I have been to several of them myself) the typical person’s standard of living is far below that obtainable here by the average person. I myself am a case in point. I own nearly 16 acres of land, with a 3,600 sw. foot main house, a guest house and workshop. I was able to get all this for (roughly) $400,000. Do you have any idea what $400k will buy in the countries you mention? You’d be lucky to get a stand-alone house …. a very small house. More likely, you’d get a condo or apartment of about half the square footage. I have one antique car and five motorcycles – with enough room for another ten, if I wanted.

            I live, in other words, a lifestyle that would only be possible in the countries you mention were I very affluent – rich, in fact.

            But I am middle class here. On the fringe, perhaps, of upper middle class. But not even close to being rich.

            Reason? Despite all the socialism we already have, it is still possible (or was) for an average person to get the things I have. In Europe, only the rich have them. Because only the rich can afford the crushing taxation to support the collective and maintain a “rich” lifestyle.

            You can have your coercive collective and the ever-diminishing circle of liberty it necessarily entails.

          • methylamine
            November 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm

            @Devon:

            You’re leaning the right way now, pointing out the cost of those injuries to their families–i.e., immediate effects which are direct costs to THEM–the ones that incurred injury by their choices. The same logic applies BTW to drug use–it’s a social, not criminal problem largely confined to immediate family, friends, and work.

            But you still throw in the little collectivist dig, “society”.

            Now let’s be completely clear: I DO believe in a moral obligation not to fuck up society! But it is a voluntary, moral obligation that I personally feel. The key is–voluntary. It cannot be forced, because then it’s no longer morality, it’s greedy self-preservation…and it devolves to totalitarianism.

            You bring up the Scandinavian countries; but you do know, don’t you–I hope you’re not being disingenuous–that they’re largely living off the oil revenues from the North Sea project…and that’s running out. They’re highly indebted; the clock is ticking. Sweden is paying citizens to go find jobs in Norway.

            I’ve been there and studied their systems. They–the Finns in particular–are wonderful people, and their systems work quite well, for the time being.

            Besides the North Sea oil, their systems “work” largely because they are
            a) very small–Finland 4.5 million
            b) highly homogeneous
            c) living on borrowed time (debt)

            Norway: debt 140% of GDP
            Sweden: debt 187% of GDP
            Finland: debt 155% of GDP
            Denmark: debt 180% of GDP

            Iceland is awesome–I applaud them because they’re the only country so far to tell the banksters to go fuck themselves!

            However they’re resource-rich too, and it’s subsidizing their socialism.

            Tell you what Devon; if you devolve Scandinavian-style socialism to a very small community, no more than a few million people…AND make it voluntary…then it’s fine! Of course people should be free to choose.

            My objection is to coercive, violent solutions–to force and fraud in the service of the illusory “greater good”.

      • Scott
        November 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm

        I’ve always thought airbags were up there with electric windows; one more useless thing to break. Basically, airbags are for people who don’t use seat belts, if you use a seat belt you’re just as safe as you’d be with an airbag and no seat belt. Seat belts are a lot cheaper to make and a whole lot cheaper to fix. Airbags are a tax.

        Electric windows are for people who can’t be bothered to turn a crank and don’t mind spending a couple thousand dollars every few years to replace them when they quit.

        • November 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm

          I have no issue with any of these items, provided they’re not forced down our throats. If people want air bags, they should be free to buy air bags. By the same token, people should also be free to not buy them.

          What I resent is the government forcing me (and others, who don’t want air bags) to buy them (and thereby, help subsidize the costs).

          I have no doubt that, given this economy and the diminished buying power of the average American, there would be tremendous demand for a basic, low-cost car in the $8,000 or so range – which would be very doable if the SRS mandate went away. If the entire menu of government “safety” mandates went away, it would probably be possible to build a 1,600 lb. new car capable of 60 MPG that could be sold for $7,000 or so.

          But nooooooo – we can’t have that.

          • Rick Laudeman
            November 2, 2012 at 12:13 am

            Eric,

            The reason we have “Air Bags” is beause the insurance co would rather replace an air bag then to rebuild a persons face.
            You can blame the shareholders of the insurance co’s for that. You can say you will take the risk. I heard all that from non-clovers until the bill’s came in. Then the law suits come in.

            Rick

          • November 2, 2012 at 9:55 am

            Rick,

            Your argument boils down to the Cloveronian: Because some people are assholes, everyone must be treated as a presumptive asshole.

            I don’t sue. I won’t sue. Not for the consequences of my personal actions or decisions or non-actions. I am not the only one who has that attitude. Don’t lump us in with Clover. And leave is free to live our lives – and bear the consequences, if any. That goes for Clovers, too.

            The insurance mafia is in bed with the car mafia. I use mafia because both are collusive and rely on coercion to extract money from unwilling victims.

            Air bags were a loser when they were offered as options people were free to decline. So naturally, they had to be force-fed to the public.

        • BrentP
          November 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm

          power windows are great for the window cranks you can’t easily reach. Anyway having repaired about as many manual regulators as power regulators in my life I really don’t think there’s much of a reliability difference.

          And a few thousand dollars every few years to replace them is complete bunk.

          Air bags are a dumb idea that Joan Claybrook and her followers kept pushing on for over decade until they got them. Of course they didn’t listen to the automakers about the dangers. They knew better than those engineers at GM, Ford, and Chrysler.

          • Scott
            November 3, 2012 at 3:17 am

            Brent, a few thousand dollars may be bunk in some cars, not in the ones I drive. You know how much a mass air flow sensor for a 928 costs? $650. The switch on the electric seats? $150. Those are part costs. You can very easily drop a thousand or so to replace them if you have someone else do it.

            I’ve had hand cranks fail before on 914′s, the parts cost about $20 and it takes a half hour to fix one. It took me 3 hours to replace the switch on an electric seat last week.

          • BrentP
            November 3, 2012 at 3:34 am

            Replacing window motors every few years at great cost is bunk. Period. Power window motors out last the car IME.

            I’ve replaced two electric window regulators. 1) 1982 Olds, car was 17-18 years old at the time. I believe the actual motor failed in that one. 2) 1989 Mazda. The motor and such were just fine, it was the shared mechanism with the hand crank version that failed. I do not recall if the replacement was an entire assembly or one where I xfered the motor over.

            I’ve repaired or replaced at least two manual crank regulators.

          • November 3, 2012 at 10:48 am

            Brent,

            I have no doubt that the general reliability of electric window motors has (like everything else about cars) improved. However, I can attest from direct personal experience that power window motors frequently did not last the life of the vehicle in the past. At least, not GM vehicles in the past. I’ve owned half a dozen and had problems with several. It does happen. Or, did.

            And it’s still a problem if you have one of these older cars today. Take my TA, for instance. It has power windows. Each motor costs about $130. The switch is another $75 (and this car only has one switch). So, right there, that’s more than $300 in parts. Plus, cars that have power windows usually have higher-output (more expensive) alternators.

            Granted, this is a 40-year-old car now – but I can tell you these cars had problems when they were eight years old.

          • Scott
            November 3, 2012 at 4:15 am

            Well I’ve had more trouble with electric windows, seats and moon roofs than I’ve had with manual ones but that’s just my experience. In general they’ve cost me more to fix too. I don’t care for them but these days it’s hard to buy a car that doesn’t have them. Even in ’85 you couldn’t buy a 928 with manual windows. Maybe they weren’t mandated by law, but if you wanted the car you got electric windows.

            I’m looking for aftermarket solutions on a race chassis to cut weight. It’s pretty easy to find manual seats though :)

          • November 3, 2012 at 10:36 am

            In certain types of vehicles, power windows just don’t make any sense as far as I am concerned. Example: A regular cab, compact pick-up. Or a subcompact two-door hatchback.

            I see the utility, on the other hand, in a large sedan – and so on.

            As a rule, I prefer the manual windows because I just don’t feel any need for electric ones. Opening a window by hand is not a big chore or even an inconvenience. I also like that I can control how much it opens much more effectively. In many new cars, it is not easy to get the window to roll down just a few inches. It wants to go all the way down – or all the way back up.

            Also, there is the additional expense. Not just for the motors (a low-cost one costs about $100; if the car has four, that’s at least $400 in potential down-the-road expenses) but also for switches and a higher-amp alternator (these can get insanely pricey – $500 or more).

            I like simple, functional stuff.

          • Scott
            November 3, 2012 at 4:25 am

            Brent, what I was really trying to get at is there’s a lot of other crap on cars today that weighs a lot and is every bit as useless as an airbag.

            Back in the 70′s Porsche used to dip 911 uni-body chassis in a nitric acid bath to etch off a few microns of metal to lighten the car. They called it the 911 Rally Sport. Nobody besides Eric seems to think that way these days.

          • November 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

            And in the ’60s, Pontiac Swiss-cheesed the chassis of factory drag cars lighter (and so, quicker) in the quarter mile. Just imagine the howls out outrage – saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety!!!! - that would attend something like that being done today.

          • Scott
            November 3, 2012 at 4:33 am

            For more irony, consider that a 928 (circa) 1985) has titanium *lug nuts*, but also has *six* electric seat motors (carefully forged in cast aluminum). It boggles the mind…

          • MoT
            November 3, 2012 at 10:53 am

            What I found out was the problem with electric motors wasn’t the motor at all. It was usually some plastic part that connected some do-hickey to the motor assembly that failed. This occurred on my old Chevy Lumina van. What a bitch that was to fix!

          • BrentP
            November 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm

            Switches are generally six-sigma devices tested to work for at least 150K cycles. Electric motors pretty much last forever. The only mass failures I know of were cost cutting idiocy at GM which would result in water getting in and ruining motors. You can thank the federal government for the need to pursue cost cutting in that way.

            The analysis presented to me also assumes crank windows don’t fail. They do. Somewhere I have a cracked powdered metal gear that came out of the regulator assembly of a hand cranked ’86 626 driver’s side window. I replaced that regulator in the early 1990s. Car was about five years old. It’s usually the regulator’s mechanics that fail, not the driving motor and those parts go with both systems.

            The only legitimate beef IMO is not being able to buy just the regulator mechanics and move the motor over. but that has to do with how the factory receives them from the supplier.

        • clover
          November 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm

          Scott you are wrong about air bags. Seat belts are not just fine! It is seat belts with air bags that creates safety. In fact it is more dangerous to have air bags without the use of seat belts. It is the combination that works. Without air bags your face is going to get smashed in during a hard crash. If you do not mind your face getting smashed in then I guess a seat belt only would be fine.
          cloverclovercloverclover

          Editor’s note: T-Shirt Ideas

          • mithrandir
            November 3, 2012 at 1:53 am

            Your writing is dumber than a sack of wet hair.

            Try properly using the seat belt.

            People can survive without an airbag.

          • November 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

            Clover’s something, isn’t he?

            Something not pleasant.

            His urge to dominate and control is startling. Of course, he’d never try to control or dominate others on his own. Sick little creeps of his sort like to vote to have others do it for them. To get laws passed – and enforced. This satisfies their pornographic urges without any risk to themselves. It makes them feel haughty and important.

            I pine for the day when Clover and his sort will have to face their victims on equal terms.

          • Scott
            November 3, 2012 at 3:23 am

            Clover, I T-boned a Fiat 124 sedan while I was doing 45 mph and he was doing an estimated 65 mph while sideways in my lane. I was driving a 1980 Porsche 931. I had no airbags but I was wearing a seat belt. The combined speed of the vehicles at the point of impact was over 100 mph.

            My face did not get smashed. I suffered a fairly severe bruise across my upper body from my left hip to my right shoulder. I also suffered a concussion caused by my brain rapidly (and forcefully) coming in contact with the front of my skull.

            I’ve been there Clove, I know what I’m talking about.

          • Scott
            November 3, 2012 at 3:30 am

            Sorry, the bruise was from my other left hip to my other right shoulder.

          • methylamine
            November 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

            Eric,

            I pine for the day when Clover and his sort will have to face their victims on equal terms.

            Have a look at this video, I believe I’ve found the White Obama Phone Lady.

            Complete Cloverism. 100% Statist. No concept of self-sufficiency.

            And THAT is why Chuckie is standing there looking smug, comfortable in his power; having reduced his flock of sheeple to abject dependency.

            Compare that with hurricane Ike that hit Texas a few years ago. We were without electricity for two weeks, and major parts of the city were flooded.

            Day 1: Neighbors gather around, take stock. Work groups self-organized; one for the street, one to remove felled trees, another to set up power.

            Day 2: Street cleaned and swept. Trees and branches removed. Little old lady at the end of the street who lives alone, taken care of; hole in her roof patched, tree removed. BBQ that night in the street, everyone invited.

            Days 3-14: consolidating generators to get the most out of the gas, hooking up freezers to preserve food, more BBQ’s on the street. Much alcohol consumed. Zero violence. A generally memorable time; sleeping made difficult by heat and humidity.

            There was no looting; looters get shot in Texas.

            Maybe this IS the place to ride out the collapse and fight off the evil NWO globalist freak-show?

      • Devon
        November 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm

        Here is your problem: you argue based on ideals and not on facts. Clover is pointing to real issues and real solutions. You keep chanting the same idealistic mantras instead of actually looking at realities and facts and statistics. If everything were as simple as you like to think it is, we would have had the world figured out a long time ago, and somewhere on earth we would have a perfect free utopia. But the basic reality is it is not. When you are making arguments they have to be based in facts and realities and not on your assumptions about human behavior.

        You can say that the way government has been going about regulation is terribly inefficient and ineffective, and I would agree with you totally. But you keep arguing for no regulation at all, and when that happens you get chaos and absolutely no safety. I would much rather drive in the United States, where I may get a ticket for something as minor as a tail light being out, than in the Bahamas where people are left to their own devices on the road. I have seen some pretty awful accidents down there that would hardly ever happen here, simply because there is such a lack of control over the roads.

        • November 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm

          Devon,

          I am opposed not to regulation – but to coercion.

          Why should I have to buy an air bag, for example? My risk – my business. (I haven’t wrecked since 1987, fyi – and judge my risk to be low and so reasonably would prefer not to spend the money on “safety” equipment I reasonably believe I will likely never have use for.)

          You will respond – probably – that it is “society’s” business whether I drive without an air bag (again, as an example) because of the higher risk it entails – and the “social costs” I might impose. But I reject your premise. “Society” is not responsible for the consequences of my actions – or ought not to be. I despise the collectivist notion that each of us is – or ought to be – bound by threat of violence to one another. That we each have what amounts to an ownership stake in our fellow human beings.

          Leave your fellow men alone! If someone causes you injury or loss, then that person ought to be held accountable. But do not hold me or others accountable – or exercise prior restraint (dumbing down, treating people like idiot children, as Clover demands) because “someone” “might” do this – or not do that.

          • MoT
            November 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

            Eric, but it’s this very collectivist mentality that says, “You have to vote” and live with the evil consequences even though you’re completely against it and have no desire to be roped into that corral of misery. Now what kind of a sick bastard believes in that nonsense? I even saw one comment on another blog where some knucklehead said it was the “patriotic” thing to suck it up and pay taxes!

          • methylamine
            November 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm

            @MoT:

            Ugh. The equating of patriotism with tax-paying; the mark of the true slave, “yes Massa!”.

            I vomit a little in my mouth when I hear that particular gem.

            It’s almost as bad as “law-abiding citizen”; I have this strange problem, probably symptomatic of my frequent indulgences with hallucinogens in college…

            …I sometimes get video-flashes playing in my mind that resemble the old Wile E Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons where Roadrunner transforms on the run to a roasted bird in Wile E’s eyes.

            When I hear “I pay my taxes! I’m a law-abiding citizen!”, they suddenly look like a freshly-shorn sheep.

            It’s Stalin’s chicken analogy!

            It may be apocryphal, but one of Stalin’s proteges once asked him how he was so effective at “leading”. Stalin ordered a live chicken brought to him, and proceeded to pluck its feathers–and extremely painful operation. The chicken ran off as soon as Stalin released it; but it soon ran back and huddled against his leg for warmth.

            He turned to the protege and said, “See?”

        • BrentP
          November 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm

          Real issues? Solutions? For those who don’t have principles but only feelings. The problem with such things is that without principle the entire society is pushed into decay and collapse. Everyone gets poorer. People are less free. Oh they are safe. Safe like slave or serf is safe.

          There were ways before so much was taken over by the government. As I have explained to Clover and many like that, the safety devices and standards that became required at the point of a gun started out private. The industry I work in is largely governed by private safety standards. The government hasn’t sought fit to take over this industry on the safety side of things. yet.

          I know private standards work. I live it. But also I know that the government took its standards from the original private ones.

          You’re working under cloverian assumption that government is needed for order. That without a gun pointed at our heads, us engineers would intentionally make product dangerous. That we want to kill our customers. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. The cloverian assumption is wrong and has always been so.

          Safety is an issue of education. Automakers tried selling safety many times before it worked. Long before government got involved. The problem was always that people didn’t want to buy it. Instead of educating people, the do gooders did what was easy. Employed the government’s monopoly on legal violence. It was too difficult to convince people.

          People make product for customers. If customers demanded something it would be made. If best known engineering practices weren’t followed and as a result a customer got hurt, there would be a liability issue. With government so long as the government standard, not changed since 1968 or whenever is followed, no problem. No liability. Forget industry best practice. Government mediocrity instead.

          Even the rules of the road here come out of the private sector. Government took over. It can’t resist power. Threat of government punishment doesn’t stop reckless people. Doesn’t do a damn thing. Mutual benefit is why most people follow the rules more or less. But even government screws that up because people rely on government. Their own judgment fails and things get less safe. Building better idiots I call it.

          There are alternatives, but to see them means rejecting the cloverian premise. Otherwise, the only solutions are the clover ones.

  6. Tinsley Grey Sammons
    October 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    *sigh* To bad the Corvair was politicked out of existence. By now it could have evolved into a truly great machine. A lawyer said, BOO! and a potentially great machine was no longer produced.

    tgsam

    • October 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Amen. I speak as a former owner (’64 Monza coupe). A great little car that was much better engineered than the Beetle (I’ve owned them, too). It had enough power to comfortably hold 75 on the highway (the Beetle didn’t). The heater worked. It had a surprising amount of room inside as a result of the short back bench seats and flat floor.

      Just one more reason to hate Clovers.

      • MoT
        October 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

        Beetle heater? Lord! It was a miracle to get any heat during those cold months off of those heater boxes. I love the Beetle but that aspect sucked!

        • Tre Deuce
          October 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm

          ‘Mot’ The Beetle heater worked just fine and provided near instant heat. The problem was maintenance of ancillary parts and door adjustment. And, people also didn’t know how to adjust for cabin and defrost heat.
          I drove VW’s all Winter for years and at least two times a week up into the mountains skiing, never had a problem with defrost or staying warm.

          The only car I ever had that also provided near instant heat was my 41′ Cadillac. It didn’t use an internal coolant thermostat.

          Regards …Tre

          • MoT
            October 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm

            You know what… come to think of it you’re right. I found the heater tubes were either damaged or even missing on some of the VW’s I purchased. Didn’t do me any good until I bought a manual and learned more about the vehicle. Doh!

    • Ed
      November 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      “A lawyer said, BOO!”

      Give it a name. It was Ralph fucking Nader, and may the fleas of a thousand camels nest in his pubes.

      • Tor Munkov
        November 3, 2012 at 3:13 am

        Ralph Nader, and all those consumer reports clovers. I doubt he even knows how to check his own oil, yet he sells millions of copies of his ambulance chasing, bureaucrat ball washing anticapitalist screeds.

        The Foxconn Dynasty takeover of duh-mericah can’t happen fast enuf 4 me.

      • Scott
        November 3, 2012 at 3:39 am

        I think Nader’s middle name is Ropin, not Fuckin. I could easily be wrong though since there seems to be a lot of debate on the subject.

        • Tor Munkov
          November 3, 2012 at 4:36 am

          His parents are from Lebanon, he grew up speaking Arabic at home.

          EPAUTOS.COM ::>The Eric Peters AUTOdidactS.

        • November 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

          Nader’s an odd duck. It’s my understanding he didn’t even possess a driver’s license at the time he went to work on the Corvair. If true, it’s a pretty damning indictment of the guy’s careless arrogance. How could a person who doesn’t even drive (let alone drive at a high level) have anything to say about how any car handles? But this is typical of the shyster lawyer caste. They litigate – and parse “the law” – but often know nothing about real things. Real things – and real people – their Talmudic parsings often end up destroying.

  7. Hal
    October 25, 2012 at 4:13 am

    How do nascar and formula 1 drivers survive triple digit speed crashes? Simplicity. All of the satefy features are designed around proven and rigid principles instead of the latest and shiniest technology.

    Automakers could ditch 99% of their “safety” features and replace them with a full roll cage. A properly built roll cage is what makes it possible for race car drivers to walk away from 200+ mph collisions. A full roll cage can be hidden in the cars interior with a little sheetmetal and fabric. This way cars could be far safer than today for a fraction of the cost. Considering where automated welding is today It would be far cheaper to weld a roll cage than to install airbags, crash sensors, and all of uncle’s other mandated crap.

    How do I know all of this? Well Im a backwoods redneck engineer who wishes we could go back to the moonshining days. I didnt make the mistake of going to college and kissing up to some socialist professor. As a result Im probably 10+ years ahead of the kids in class just by researching engineering through google.

    • David Ward
      October 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Hal,

      And then there is Bill Munro, a self taught engineer, who set in 1962 and still holds the world land speed record on a 1920 Indian Scout (950cc) for the below 1000cc class motorcycle. He produced most of his own parts by hand. BTW Bill was from New Zealand.

      An interesting movie, The World’s Fastest Indian, chronicles his efforts. It is worth the watch.

      • October 25, 2012 at 10:58 am

        Hi David,

        Yup – Burt did 205 MPH… which is incredible if you’re aware of what a stock Indian was capable of. Even today – after almost 50 years – the world’s most elite high-performance bikes are no faster….

        • Hal
          October 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

          Burt Munro is one of my true heroes. His life story is a never ending tale of proving people wrong.

          • October 28, 2012 at 9:22 am

            I also dig autodidacts. The self-taught who end up teaching the taught!

      • Eightsouthman
        October 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm

        That was a great movie.

    • BrentP
      October 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Government regulates mediocrity. That should become another one of my broken record statements. Back in the airbag or mouse belt days Ferrari had a car, F40 I think, that came with a racing harness. No three point belt, no airbag, a racing harness. Superior for safety over the other two. US federal government made them remove the harness and put in a mousebelt. (automatic three point seat belt)

      Simply put one could build the safest car offered for sale and the government wouldn’t allow it.

      Manufacturing wise I don’t think a roll cage would be cheap but it would probably be cheaper than crap load of airbags.

      School cannot teach knack. They can teach new tools and understanding that helps knack but either a person has or develops the knack on their own. However without the degree one has to spend 10-15 years or more working up through the blue collar ranks and may never make it to the engineering level simply due to the social/political aspects of corporations and companies. So whatever time was saved in self teaching is lost.

      “Dilbert – The Knack”

      • Scott
        October 28, 2012 at 9:15 am

        Brent, my guess is you know what they did to kids with “The Knack” back in the 70′s. WE got “streamed” into “special education” programs. To this day I still don’t know what they hoped would happen. Were they trying to indoctrinate us into mediocrity, were they just isolating us in the hope we wouldn’t infect the rest of the herd, or did they hope we’d grow up like Mr. Obama and become technocrats? It’s a mystery.

        Love Dilbert BTW (of course).

    • Devon
      October 28, 2012 at 5:52 am

      oh, you mean go back to the days when people weren’t allowed to sell, buy, or posess alcohol? and the days when mobs ruled many of the major cities? Those were great days indeed.

      I’m just sayin. =P

      • Boothe
        October 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

        Yeah Devon. Those were the days… Back then the cops couldn’t just yank you out the front door and search your house without a warrant under the guise of a “wellbeing check.” The “revanooers” didn’t show up in swat gear and APC’s. They had to have a warrant to look into your banking activity, money was still made of silver and gold and they couldn’t confiscate the family farm just ’cause Pa had a still behind the barn. Back then there was no prohibition on possession of cannabis and you could buy codeine cough syrup over the counter. The “war on drugs” and all its attendant dictatorial and militaristic bureaucracy are making the Stasi look benevolent. Modern drug cartels make Al Capone, rum runners, boot-leggers and moon-shiners look like Camp Fire Girls. Just sayin’ indeed.

        • James
          October 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm

          +10

          ‘Nuff Said.

        • Devon
          November 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm

          You would do well to look in to the Federal government’s reaction to, for instance, work strikes. in Ludlow, Colorado, 1914, the national guard installed machine gun emplacements around a village of workers protesting for safer working conditions and fair wages. They opened fire and set fire to tents where families, including women and children, were hiding.

          Or how about the eviction of the Bonus Army in 1932, in which the army forcibly removed protesters demanding benefits they had been promised, which resulted in at least 4 deaths and about 60 injuries.

          Or how about the slew of massacres of Native Americans who had surrenedered, including primarily women and children in many cases.

          Or how about the fact that in the 1800s and early 1900s many suspects were brought to trial bruised and injured because of police beatings, and in very many of these cases the charges were dropped or there was no substantial case against the accused.

          You have this gilded idea of a past that really never existed. I’m not saying that police today don’t over-step their bounds, or that the war on drugs is a good idea. I think it is unnecessary and a huge waste, and punishes people unjustly. What I’m saying is things used to be much, much worse, and if you would actually do a bit of research you would realize it.

  8. October 25, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Here in Australia in the 1980s, the aircraft designer Charles Ligeti died while flight testing a modification of his (rather nifty) Stratos light aircraft when it went into an uncontrolled dive and hit the ground. He would have had more of a chance to recover before impact if he had been higher up because he would have had more room and time to do it, just as practically all experienced pilots know applies in almost any aircraft emergency, but the government had dictated that all test flights be conducted at lower altitudes for “safety” reasons. It’s not as if he would have hit any harder from 5,000 feet than from 500 feet, but the politicians used their common sense instead of asking anyone in the trade.

    • Tor Munkov
      October 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Its not common sense, but rather a worldwide safety web that entraps and ensnares everyone. The strings of safety hold you fast, the acting man becomes a mere puppet, held immobile.
      Flight safety, road safety, food safety, safe homes, safe sex, safe neighborhoods.
      The grinning boobs are thankful for the all seeing eye of Sauron and his panopticon empire of safety.
      None of them have the slightest problem with the filaments around their hands, feet, mind, and orafices.
      They think they are free. They think they are safe.
      They blythely discuss their cocooning as if it happened of their own free will, upon seeing their neighbors eaten by the spiders, they never think that one day, it will who’ll be the webmaster’s meal.

  9. justin
    October 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I have a new 2012 Tundra, the A pillar is HUGE.

    that, combined with slope of the windshield and the door mirror create a blind spot large enough to hide an entire vehicle and plenty large enough to obscure a pedestrian.

    My 82 Chevy pickup has MUCH better visibility.

    that windshield slope, designed to help the vehicle get another 1/3 mpg puts half the engine under the dash where you cant work on it.

    Also, has anyone mentioned what you gotta do to change the headlight bulb on a 09 Malibu???

    you have to remove both front wheels, the inner fenders AND the front bumper, takes half a day just to replace a burned out headlight bulb.

    • Hal
      October 27, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      The malibu was designed like that on purpose. Since leviathan regulations lock out all free market competition for the big 3, they can do whatever the hell they want. Its not you thats supposed to do the half day of labor. Its one of GM’s “certified” mechanics that charges $150 an hour that will change it for you.

  10. Eric Allan
    October 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I had a 63 Monza Spyder Turbo and it was the most fun and sporty little care to drive. I also had a 64 Bug that I couldn’t wait to get in and drive when the snow fell…what a great little “bad weather” car that was. As far as the heater went, I was the only guy at work that carried an ice scraper for the inside of the car. Going up hill under full power, the heat would gush out from all the vents, but as soon as you let off on the gas, the windows would ice up and the heat was gone….until the next hill.

  11. Charlie
    October 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Well good for you to point out their stupidity. I was trying to buy a new car in the fall of 2011 – I say trying because I couldn’t find one that I could see out of or that I felt safe in. I’m a senior citizen and really felt so uncomfortable that I refused to even test drive one of the new ugly contraptions. I ended up buying a 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis with windows and a V8, but it gets 25 mpg on the highway. Now I’m thinking of selling it and buying an even older pickup truck. Hey I’m old so I can drive whatever the hell I want.
    Your right – more wrecks on the way and tickets for failure to yield or improper lane changes

  12. SurfMan
    October 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    You are so right about bad visibility. The windshield posts are so huge now you miss pedestrians all the time. In addition, the idiot car manufacturers black out all the edges of the glass to make visibility worse. Does anyone care whether the driver can see? Give me an old BMW 2002 for visibility.

  13. Hugh Mannity
    October 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I drive a 2006 Land Rover LR3. And no, it’s not a “Mall Rover”, I do take it off-road.

    It came with a donut :( Which I had to use off-road. Not fun.

    However, it does have pretty decent visibility. I was “helping” a friend shop for a new truck recently and he was all set to get a Toyota FJ Cruiser — nice truck, almost as good as a Landie, but cheaper. Except it has no visibility.

    Now, the Landie’s not brilliant in that respect — I can’t see the ground in front of me for about 10′ (which can be an issue off road) but I’ve got good side visibility and a reasonable view.

    The FJ has worse forward visibility, a much higher beltline, small rear window, and huge blindspots at the rear quarters.

    After the test drive my friend decided he was going to buy himself a cheap used Jeep for off-road and an inexpensive older pickup or SUV for commuting and hauling stuff.

    Me? I’m hanging on to the Landie until I can afford to buy an old Defender or Series Land Rover.

  14. JRR
    October 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Good article.

    One point, the donut spares are only supposed to be used on the rear, and you’re supposed to keep the speeds down below 50 MPH for no more than 50 miles. When used like that they really have almost no effect on handling.

  15. Dylboz
    October 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    There is a reason my wife and I love the Scion xB (the original ’03-’07 ones). Our ’05 is just fantastic for visibility, it does not have a huge rake, indeed, the windshield is only tilted back maybe 20 degrees, and the rear window is vertical. It’s like a TARDIS inside. At 6′ 2″ I can get in with a cowboy hat on and wear it the whole trip. I can put a 6′ 4″ Marine in the back seat and comfortably drive him 2 states over to Colorado, with my wife, all our stuff and camping gear without even using our roof-rack(it makes a great rolling tent, just flatten the seat, start the air compressor and inflate your full-size mattress, all that head room means you can actually sit up on top of it, which is more than I can say for some tents!)and still get 35 mpg at easily maintained highway speeds. The newer ones just suck, because they went for more rake, a lower roof, unnecessarily larger engine, fatter pillars (probably airbag-related) and so on. I will hang onto that little machine for as long as I can. It’s BRILLIANT! The perfect urban car: part van, part SUV, part sedan, part econo-box, and very easy on the eyes, too.

    • Eightsouthman
      October 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Funny that. My sister in law still has one. It’s ok for town but is turning 3500 rpm at 70mph, has those tiny tires(not good, rough riding) and gets 25mpg on the highway, terrible seats and and very few amenities. I suppose it’s all what you like but I sorta like a comfy seat, some tires that don’t fall into every little hole and an engine I “can’t” hear. My wife’s old ’95 Cutlass is still plugging along getting 28-30mpg on the highway, has great seats, no engine noise(as sometimes trying to start it when running)and plenty of power. They could have added more insulation to the doors and other parts of the body but it’s nothing like that Scion B buzzbomb.

  16. Greg
    October 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    The timing of this article is perfect. I just picked up a 2010 CR-V last week after years of clinging to my 1990 Accord coupe. I kept it so long because it is simple to maintain and the visibility is fantastic. In contrast, the visibility in the CR-V makes me so uneasy I feel like a new driver again. Incredibly, Car and Driver raves that this model has “360 degree visibility!” I suppose relative to other new cars, this description may be accurate. However, my old Accord must then have at least 720° of visibility when compared to today’s safety-mobiles! It’s a relief to know I’m not the only person that finds the impaired view of new vehicles maddening.

  17. K. Chris C.
    October 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    None of you, Eric included, should ever forget, not even let it get out of site, that it is ALWAYS about money and power. These pols and crats are only doing it, mandating safety, etc., for their own benefit and some industry, company, contractor, individual.

    It is NEVER about stupidity or misguided efforts and should never be discussed as such. It is corruption, and to the degree it violates others Life, Liberty and Property, it is criminal.

    As a result, government always accomplishes the opposite of the STATED goal which Eric so clearly points out.

    • dom
      October 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      Agree 100%. Amen..

    • Tinsley Grey Sammons
      October 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      “…that it is ALWAYS about money and power.”

      And they are interchangeable. I nearly always have a copy of Bastiat’s THE LAW within reach to remind me.

      tgsam

      • K. Chris C.
        October 29, 2012 at 1:45 am

        Amen and I like to think of power as “future money.”

  18. October 26, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I was forced to the conclusion that I absolutely refuse to ever own a vehicle any newer than my ’07 Mustang. I recently traded off my beater car (’02 Jag X-Type AWD) for a run-of-the-mill ’03 Explorer V6. It’s a nice beater truck, easy to see out of, parts grow on trees (same with the Stang), NO Tire Pressure Bullshit Scam, NO GPS or built-in phone/microphones, simple dumbass 2WD with a normal RWD layout and no surprises. It, like my Mustang, has exactly TWO airbags which is one too many. I completely agree with you, Eric, in that those people who want safety features should be able to select and purchase them in the marketplace. And that those people who do not want them should likewise be able to select and purchase a vehicle without them. I, for one, prefer to have a driver’s side airbag. That’s it. I don’t give two shits about the passenger seat since 90% of my driving is by myself. I don’t want to pay for or maintain an entire curtain airbag system just in case I blow an apex and crash into the trees. That’s what race tracks and helmets are for – when you INTEND to do dangerous things that might involve unplanned impacts. Just piddling around town? Give me visibility and vicious brakes and I’ll make it home just fine 99999/100000 times.

  19. Michael Deming
    October 26, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Please give specifics on what WE THE PEOPLE can do to reverse the regulatory burden. If enough of us gripe, they will respond. How about a generic paragraph at the end of each article like:

    “What I mean by ‘The Government’ is

    1) NHTSA, http://www.nhtsa.gov, 1-888-327-4236, call David Strickland or click ‘Email NHTSA.’

    2) Your Congressional Representative, http://www.house.gov, enter ZIP code to find your specific Representative.

    3) Your Senators, http://www.senate.gov, search by state to find your Senators.”

    • October 26, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Hi Mike,

      I see that as pointless. Changing minds is the only way we’ll ever see the situation changed – not by appealing to “our” representatives or “our” government. These things are not ours. They are theirs.

      • K. Chris C.
        October 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

        Exactly! Liberty doesn’t need permission.

      • clover
        November 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm

        Eric, they do not allow voting in Virginia? You do not have to change the minds of people. You vote for the people that think like you do. If there is no one else that thinks like you do to vote someone in then maybe it is you that has the problem.

        • November 4, 2012 at 10:47 am

          Clover –

          No one’s rights ought to be subject to a vote. That is the difference between you and I, philosophically. Your philosophy (such as it is) is that every individual must accept whatever the collective decrees, provided it has been done according to process (i.e., voted upon, or after a law/regulation has been passed/enacted by the government). Thus, if four people vote to take the property of one individual – or have him caged – this is ok. After all, the majority rules – that’s “democracy” – and the person whose property is to be taken (or caged) “had his vote.”

          But was out-voted.

          Yours is the philosophy of the hyena pack, in other words.

          My philosophy, on the other hand, is that no individual’s rights may be voted away for any reason. The only moral/legitimate use of coercion is in response to coercion; that is, in self-defense. Whether you like what I do is immaterial. So long as I am not causing you or someone else (an actual person or persons, not “society”) a demonstrable harm or injury, then I have the absolute right to be left alone and in peace. No one has a right to the smallest portion of someone else’s property unless they have incurred an obligation. Merely existing does not confer a right to other people’s property, or any right to control their lives.

          Voting does not render the immoral moral, Clover.

          Theft is always theft – whether it is called a mugging or taxation. Your determination to control me – “for my own good,” or because you think I “might” do something you are afraid of or disapprove of – is no different than Massa on the plantation exerting the same control over his field niggers. I do not wish to be a field nigger – and reject your idea that slavery (forcible control of another human being) is legitimated when done via the vote or the majority or by politicians acting on its alleged behalf – as opposed to Simon Legree’s whip.

          They are the same things, Clover.

          But it’s something I doubt you’ll ever comprehend. It’s clear to me from your garbled, incoherent posts that you’re just not very bright. I’ve found that not-so-bright people tend to be insecure, vengeful and violent – especially when confronted with people who challenge their primitive notions.

          With each post, you cement your status as the archetype of everything that’s gone wrong with this country.

  20. clover
    October 30, 2012 at 2:33 am

    We know Brent. You are such a good driver. Tailgating for you is anything within 10 inches at 75 mph. You are so good you can double up on lanes on the the interstate. You are so good that you can pass on a yellow no passing zone and squeeze by so that the oncoming traffic does not have to slow very much. You are so good you can cut people off from behind from making a turn or lane change. You are so good you can drive for miles in someone’s blind spot without getting hit! Maybe we do not need anymore good drivers like you out there!

    Clover

    • Ed
      November 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      FOAD, toad.

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