Monday, December 02, 2013

1260 Unsafe at Every Speed

1260 Unsafe at Every Speed

Let’s think some about safe cars.  

This is a relatively recent concern.  Today, we have ABS brakes, 40 airbags, seat belts (of course) child seats. crumple zones, padded everything.  Most of this is standard equipment.

Go back a few decades to, say, 1956 when Ford built door locks that wouldn’t fling you out of the car in a crash.  Ford had a lousy year in 1956. Safety didn’t sell.

Even earlier, the Tucker Torpedo with all kinds of safety features got torpedoed by inferior competitors that leveled trumped up charges of stock fraud.

But not killing yourself in a wreck has come of age in the “me generation” and there’s something to be said for that.

What you haven’t heard is that your life as a resident of the United States and/or Europe is worth more than a life in, say, Nicaragua or Honduras or Mexico.

The American car manufacturers all have plants south of Texas.

The cars they make there are used there and also are exported all over the world.

They have the same marques. They have the same styles.  They have the same models. Sort of.

The American brand cars made in Mexico and shipped to the US have all the safety features of their Detroit siblings.
The American cars made in Mexico and shipped to Europe meet all the safety requirements there.

The American cars made in Mexico and are offered for sale there and in other south-of-the-border countries do not.

According to a recent Associated Press report, those cars carry “special codes” that mean anti lock brakes, electronic stability controls and most airbags are “not necessary.”

Earth to Mexico:  You have almost no vehicle safety laws.  Your citizens and residents pay approximately the same amount for a car as we do up here.

You are saving the auto companies a fortune as your accident fatality rates shoot up almost as fast as your drug lords and their customers shoot up.

Too much shooting up in Mexico.

It’s obvious you can’t do much about the drug lords and the gang murders.  But while your legislators are hiding under their desks, they still can pass safety regulations.  And the cops can enforce them without the fear that goes with stopping drug traffic or the payoffs that allow that traffic to sail north.

When Ralph Nader wrote “Unsafe at Any Speed,” about the hazards of the Chevy Corvair, GM had already taken steps to stop the car from overturning even when shut down and unoccupied.

But Nader brought attention to the problems of safety and made auto safety a selling point.

You buy the Ford OJ Simpson special in Mexico, chances are it won’t have the same number of airbags as the one you buy in Mylar Springs, Ohio.  It should.

So where is Nader when you need him? Probably off thinking about how he can screw up another presidential election.


--At least four killed and dozens injured in a train derailment in the Bronx.  Almost everyone who’s anyone shows up at the scene to be seen and maybe even to answer a question or two.  The governor, the police commissioner, the fire commissioner -- but not the mayor.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to
© WJR 2013

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