Car Safety – a bit off theme, but …

One argument I read recently in defense of the war in Iraq was that the number of lives lost really isn’t that high. The author (I think it was a Wall Street Journal opinion piece) compared it to the number of lives lost in car accidents in the US. I guess it’s somewhere over 40,000 deaths a year in car accidents.

This prompted me to wonder about car safety. As a car accident lawyer, I do see a lot of injuries. Some are actually quite severe even in fairly minor accidents.

If you ever watch auto racing, you see some pretty spectacular crashes at ridiculous speeds, and the drivers are often unhurt or suffer only minor injuries. For an example, see this YouTube video of a 1975 Tom Sneva crash. Or you can look at the picture below:

There are more pictures at the Indy Speedway website.

I still remember that one, and if I remember correctly, Sneva was not hurt much if at all, suffering only minor burns. So these guys in these tiny cars have spectacular crashes and they generally do well in them. Why don’t our cars have the same technology? Shouldn’t we all be wearing 6-point harnesses and helmets when we drive?

I confess I occasionally think about getting my car equipped with a 6-point harness – it can be done but it’s not cheap. I also think about wearing a bicycle helmet in my car. Not the same as a race car helmet, but it still should help. I do wonder why a 6-point harness isn’t even an option in any cars – not even Volvo I think.

You can even take this to airline crashes. Maybe each seat should be equipped with a 6-point harness, with passengers having access to fireproof suits and helmets. Seems like some airline crashes have sufficient warning that the passengers would have time to put everything on.

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