Autos can be made safer and quicker.

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Quote whatever associations you want, but this not a laboratory, and we are not lab rats. We are human beings with human failings.
While the roads need improvement for sure, vehicles are actually
reasonably safe. Just as with weapons, it's not the mechanical entity which kills, it's the nut behind the wheel/shooter/whatever. Special driving schools won't fix that. You have to teach RESPONSIBILITY. To much of society is geared to take responsibility from the individual and put it on government; helmet laws being a prime example.
Just as with a great many motorcyclists, I totally object to the depth of governmental intrusion into our lives... Responsibility must be placed where it belongs. On the individual. If I choose to ride without a helmet, or drive without a seatbelt, or smoke while I drive, that is my right. If, in doing so, I screw up, then that is my responsibility.
There was a mention of testing every 2 years, and every year after age 75, as well as after any citation. There is the formation of a major bureaucracy which will never go away no matter how safe vehicles get. And it's everyone's tax dollars will be sucked down that black hole. I don't know about elsewhere, but the lines at DMV in California are already a major problem even out here in the rural areas. Can you imagine the lines if all those others now had to be added to the already pain in the butt lines? How much cheaper would vehicles be if governmental intrusion was kept to a minimum?
Not every 75+ driver is a hazard. In fact, more of them are actually safer than teen drivers. The teen may have faster reaction times, but is also more apt to take unacceptable risks. I investigated FAR more accidents involving young drivers than I did old drivers. And far more of those young driver accidents were fatalities; generally multiple. Why? Because a car is loaded with a teen and their friends, driving around with the tunes jammin' and laughing and joking, etc, and not paying attention to driving.
When I was in my early 20s, in the military, four of us used to go to San Francisco every chance we got. Responsibility was each of us sharing by watching for traffic, making sure the way was clear, etc. The driver drove, Shotgun handled the map and watched the right. Rear passengers watched left, right and rearward. OK, so I'm old. But it worked. In all our trips into the big city, in traffic congestion we were not used to, we never had an accident, and the only ticket we ever got was for parking.
On Mon, 6 Dec 2004 02:37:56 -0800, "Ted Mittelstaedt"

Hey! Spikey Likes IT! 1965 Ford Mustang fastback 2+2 A Code 289 C4 Trac-Lok Vintage Burgundy w/Black Standard Interior Vintage 40 Wheels 16X8" w/BF Goodrich Comp T/A Radial 225/50ZR16
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FanJet wrote:

That a heavier vehicle is safer than a lighter vehicle is true-all other things being equal. However, other factors are important too For example, auto.consumerguide.com/auto/editorial/advice/index.cfm/act/safety states the following:     "Fatality rates are highest for smaller cars, SUVs, and pickups. Vehicle size, weight, and driver demographics all play a role in real-world safety."
In other words, a mid sized car is safer than a much heavier SUV or pickup. In addition, a 1550 pound Indy car is survivable in a 200+ mph crash. Whereas, a survival in a pickup crash at 200 mph is a miracle, a vehicle that weighs 3000+ pounds.
My posting mentioned carbon composites. If anyone had read the book at www.oilendgame.org or listened to the other URL, they would recognize that carbon composites are only one example of a lightweight safe technology. The book specifically mentions that use of other lightweight materials is possible.
One reason carbon composite objects are expensive is they are invariably hand made; another is the raw materials are not mass produced in quantities needed for autos. Automating production and increasing raw material quantity may not make carbon composites less expensive than steel, but it should make them very much less expensive than they are now.
I am not an expert on global warming. Consequently, I try to listen to the scientists and err on the side of caution--especially if it doesn't cost anything. That we may, also, meet objectives of the Kyoto Agreement is a nice side effect, not the main goal.
The book "Winning the Oil Endgame" at www.oilendgame.org was funded by US corporations and the pentagon. It is a plan for improving the US businesses and improving our economy.
Once before, US manufacturers let the Japanese take over the auto market with innovation. This book shows a chance for them to innovate and regain some market share.
IMO, US auto manufacturers need to hear from the market place, you and I, to encourage them to innovate and improve our market ASAP. Mercedes is already working on the technology. US auto manufacturers need to act quickly.

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One of the big problem with using plastics in auto body manufacturing, whether carbon composites or pop bottle plastic is the recycling. Despite what the plastics industry would have you believe, it costs more in money to recycle plastic than it's worth. This isn't true of steel.
As a result, large scale use of plastics in cars would create a huge disposal problem.
Right now there's many cities where there's thousands of abandonded vehicles - the car breaks down and the joker that was driving it around just dumps it, 6 months later the city tows it and sells it at auction to a wrecker, for about as much money as it cost to tow it off, the wrecker crushes it and makes a small profit on the deal for sale of scrap steel.
You go to increase in plastic component in vehicles then it turns into a pay-for-disposal. So all the sudden you create a big incentive for the jokers to just abandon the used-up vehicles in the street, instead of trying to limp them into a wrecker for a few bucks, now your saddling the cities the full costs of disposals, and towing for each vehicle. And the wrecking yards now have great incentive to not crush the vehicles just let them stack up, so you turn the wrecking industry into one where it's routine to have gigantic fields of plastic cars, and the yard declares bankruptcy and goes out of business. Now your creating just another SuperFund site.
So sure - we solve one problem - decreasing greenhouse gasses - and exchange it for a huge other problem of landfill disposal.
And all this ignores the fact that it's only 10% of the vehicles on the roads that produce the majority of the pollution in the first place.
If you really want to decrease vehicle pollution what you do is make emissions testing mandatory and uniform across the entire US, which now will prevent people with polluting cars from just registering them in addresses outside testing areas, and you get rid of emissions exceptions, so people no longer can just keep going back and going back to the state and buying another 2 month temporary use permit, and you jack up the taxes on SUV's and other high-polluting vehicles and give tax rebates on purchases of economy and other lower-polluting vehicles.
And in the long term, requiring emissions control components to be standardized would help a great deal too. For example the US government could quite easily only allow 4 different models of catalyatic converters to be used in auto manufacturing - 4 individual sizes/shapes/styles. This would commoditize catalyatic converter manufacturing much like automotive battery manufacturing has been commoditized, thus greatly decreasing the price of converter replacement.
If you look at emissions repair work one of the big bugaboos is how fragile the converters are - if the car is mistuned and runs too rich or too lean for months or years at a time, the converter gets fried or sooted up and fails. Yet the converter is a hugely expensive part - so expensive that it encourages people with non-passing vehicles to find some way around the emissions testing, rather than spending money on repair.

The Kyoto Agreement is seriously flawed as it basically allows the world's economy to make no allowance for pollution control. It is a mere shell game to say that well we reduced pollution over here so we are polluting less, meanwhile pay no attention to that developing country behind the curtain that is polluting up a storm.
The idea behind the agreement is that we are going to assume the developing countries like China are going to have a heavy concentration of heavy polluting industries like for example, metal smelters. So we are going to let them have some credit until they join the ranks of the developed countries and can move into an information economy and export their smelters to some other developing country.
The problem with this is that the world cannot function without smelters. Not every country can have an information economy that creates no pollution. The reason that smelters locate in developing countries is precisely because since there aren't pollution controls, it's cheaper for them.
If pollution controls were the same for ALL countries, regardless of status of development, it would not be as much of an economic attraction for smelters to locate in places like China, because they would have to pay the same for pollution controls no matter where in the world they would locate. Thus, it might be economically attractive to have some smelters located here in the US. Now you are changing the global economy so that businesses suffer the SAME handicaps for pollution no matter WHERE they are located, so you stop the flow of outsourcing, and now you make it so that ALL industries, both information-based, and smelter-based, can develop equally in all locations. Granted, prices for some items are going to rise as those industries now have to pay for pollution controls and so pass along the cost to consumers - but this is a good thing too as it forces consumers to decrease consumption of the products that manufacture creates a lot of pollution to begin with.

The auto market is about as poor a market as possible for any of these examples that you can select because it is SO public and thus so political, that a huge set of regulations in all countries effectively blocks any one countries automakers from taking over the market.
Even if in the US, for the next 5 years US consumers simply stopped buying domestic autos and only bought foreign makes, well in a twinking the laws would be adjusted to that most R&D, assembly, and design of those vehicles would be forced to take place in the US, thus making them pretty much equivalent to a domestic vehicle today.
The truth is that the US government permitted the Japanese automakers to gain significant market share in the US to cause competition with the domestic makers. If you were alive in the 70's and recalled the disaster that was the US auto market then - for 10 years Detroit ignored consumers demands and continued to run the US market like a monopoly market - the only way to get Detroit to get back to being competitive was to allow competition in - ie: the Japanese. Once Detroit got the message and started getting competitive, Japanese growth into the US market slowed and became static.

IMO you don't know what your talking about. The only way that you and I can encourage the US automakers to do anything is by our selection of NEW car purchases. If your buying used cars you don't count. If you don't like what the US manufacturers are producing, then purchase a new Mercedes and be happy with it.
In the meantime Detroit is going to do what makes them money and if that happens to coincide with what is in some book, great. If not, then so what. And it's to the US's economies benefit to have domestic automakers that are profitable, and adding to the economy, not building products that some book specifies that may or may not be attractive to the new car buyer market.
Ted
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

You may be right. It may be a hopeless battle, but, IMO, it is a battle that deserves to be fought. There are two alternatives, give up or not.
If you still have one of the good jobs (e.g., auto manufacturing), you may feel it is OK to give up. On the other hand, if you are currently looking for a good job, there is little reason give up. Emailing your congressman takes only a little time.
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Also, more die every year than we have lost in Iraq. ... in fact, some years, more GIs die in training accidents and related causes than have died in Iraq.
wrote:

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wrote:

I think a better choice than carbon fiber is Polyethylene terephthalate AKA pop bottle plastic. It can be injection moulded and produced at very low unit cost. If you've ever worked with Carbon fibre you'll know the time and cost issue negates that as a present option.
But for a safety issue, how about following Europe & having all buses and trucks (Including SUV's) comply with a standard bumper and headlight height front and back.
It's not only the weight issue that affects fuel economy. It's also the filthy fuel that's sold in North America. Look at how the clean diesels in Europe can hit 100 MPG (imperial) and mid 40's in decent sized vehicles Audi A8 Merc 300 BMW 5&7 series. The sulphur in our fuel prevents these from being imported.
We could also reduce a vehicles ride height at highway speeds and synchronize traffic lights. Those last two options you'd never notice, might even appreciate.
You wait from Carbon Fibre, I'll wait for better, cheaper options.
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Heck. Just rent "Sleeper". The advanced safety device built into that "car of the future" would all but eliminate injury. It was so far ahead of itself that the world is still not ready for it.
Richard.
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"Richard" <rfeirste at nycap.rr.com> wrote in message

I would be the oddball on this and it wouldn't sell cars, but I would drive a car with a roll bar and a 5 point harness. The roll cage could be blended into the body somewhat so it would not look like a NASCAR. Designs could be standardized and produced cheaply I think if not changed every year. I know it's not practical in the marketplace.
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On 3 Dec 2004 04:23:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@mcpmail.com (Al Bundy) wrote:

Are you saying that if it's good enough for people to safely drive at 200+ MPH it should be good enough for the 55MPH interstates? BAH ! that's like saying that if the HANS or Hutchens system is proven to be effective NASCAR will mandate it.
Oh... They did? Hmm
Well, people would NEVER wear a 5 point safety belt systems (even with their proven effectiveness).
You mean people put many of their children in child seats with 5 point belts already?
Ok, You've got a couple really good points. But what would all the front airbags be used for if people were properly restrained?
Sure with a lower ride height, elimination of heavy bumpers, removal of all airbags with the exception of curtain airbags and the use and implementation of integral roll cages and 5 point seat belts cars would be cheaper, safer & faster. But is that really what "the public" wants?
I think "the public" wants: electric running boards, multi panel sunroofs, explosives in their dash & steering wheel, & wood paneling body trim. Would you really want to give up these sorts of "innovations" for better cars?
I thought not !
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The roll bar is a killer for people who are not wearing protective head gear. Think before you hit the keys.
Richard.
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On Mon, 6 Dec 2004 09:43:29 -0500, "Richard" <rfeirste at nycap.rr.com> wrote:>

See above"Integral roll cage // side curtain air bags" kinda negates your point for the average consumer. I believe that's what we're referring to here, Right?
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Ever see what happens to a Stealth Fighter when the "safe" composite catches fire?
wrote:

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