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don\'t deflate auto safety
1981 this is a digital version of an article from The Times Print Archive, before it starts online in 1996.
To keep these articles as they appear initially, the Times will not change, edit, or update them.
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On last April, Lawana Hansen lost control of her 1975 Oldsmobile on Interstate 15 near Salt Lake City.
On the tractor.
Trailer at a combined speed of about 100p. h.
The car was demolished, but she and a 81-year-
The old passengers survived.
She didn\'t know when she bought a used car, but it was filled with air bags.
Few victims of a crash are so lucky.
In the 1970s s, only a few thousand cars were equipped with these convenient and reliable safety devices.
If the auto industry goes well
It seems likely to be a tragedy now.
Cars in the future will not have airbags or belttype\' pa passive.
\"In most crashes, the combination of shoulder and leg seat belts provides adequate protection --
But only one of the eight drivers wanted to lock them up.
As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been working for years to require cars to include restrictions that do not need to be used.
The automaker managed to delay the process.
Now, the Reagan administration\'s undisguised desire to prove that it is a friend of the business community seems inclined to surrender altogether.
The car company says the airbag is too expensive, the belt
The type of automatic restraint device like the one on the mass rabbit will soon be destroyed by the owner.
Manufacturers have found strong philosophical allies among conservatives who believe it is not a government thing to protect those who can easily protect themselves with ordinary seat belts.
The economic debate is not worthy of careful study.
Trade confidential documents (
Confirmed by independent auto parts supplier)
Display in front-
The companies claim that the price of seat airbags will not be like $500 to $800, but $100 to $300.
William Nordhaus, economist at Yale University, estimates that the benefits of passive restraint rules will far exceed costs: a net reduction in car damage costs manufactured in 1984 is expected to exceed $30 billion.
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Ideological debate is equally fragile.
Individuals may have the right to risk their lives.
But when protection can be provided at low cost, few of us will defend the right of parents to risk their children\'s lives.
In addition, most of the costs of damage losses are borne by the whole society.
Why do those with seat belts have to pay a higher insurance fee because no one else will?
When the insurance is not paid, will the funded medical and welfare program pay for it?
The real mystery of advertising is why the auto industry is struggling with safety so hard.
Passive constraints make it difficult to add enough price to the list price to reduce car sales.
In fact, the more clean look and freedom of movement provided by airbags may be the sales advantage of expensive cars.
Since Detroit is committed to small cars and is not so worthy of collision in nature, the increased safety factor may be a prudent investment in product liability litigation.
The explanation for this mysterious event may be simple: American automakers are always prepared to underestimate the sophistication of consumers and are dissatisfied with government intervention against the use of airbags, because they give a good name to regulation.
It is always possible for the government to have the courage and good awareness to review its full opposition to car safety regulation.
A more realistic hope is that the Japanese car company will decide to do what Detroit will not do --
Do a good job.
A version of this editorial appears on page A00030 of the national edition of September 23, 1981, titled: Do not deflate car safety.