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
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
That a heavier vehicle is safer than a lighter vehicle is true-all other
things being equal. However, other factors are important too For
"Fatality rates are highest for smaller cars, SUVs, and pickups.
Vehicle size, weight, and driver demographics all play a role in
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
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
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
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
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
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
industries like for example, metal smelters. So we are going to let them
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
The problem with this is that the world cannot function without smelters.
every country can have an information economy that creates no pollution.
reason that smelters locate in developing countries is precisely because
there aren't pollution controls, it's cheaper for them.
If pollution controls were the same for ALL countries, regardless of status
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
both information-based, and smelter-based, can develop equally in all
locations. Granted, prices for some items are going to rise as those
now have to pay for pollution controls and so pass along the cost to
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
that you can select because it is SO public and thus so political, that a
of regulations in all countries effectively blocks any one countries
taking over the market.
Even if in the US, for the next 5 years US consumers simply stopped buying
autos and only bought foreign makes, well in a twinking the laws would be
that most R&D, assembly, and design of those vehicles would be forced to
in the US, thus making them pretty much equivalent to a domestic vehicle
The truth is that the US government permitted the Japanese automakers to
significant market share in the US to cause competition with the domestic
If you were alive in the 70's and recalled the disaster that was the US auto
then - for 10 years Detroit ignored consumers demands and continued to run
US market like a monopoly market - the only way to get Detroit to get back
being competitive was to allow competition in - ie: the Japanese. Once
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
US manufacturers are producing, then purchase a new Mercedes and be happy
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
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.
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
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.
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" <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.
On 3 Dec 2004 04:23:43 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (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
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
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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