Uncle Sam's Female Crash Test Dummies
Uncle Sam and President Obama are full of curious contradictions, aren't they? Particularly when it comes to motor vehicle safety. And particularly when it comes to compact and subcompact cars.
The Washington Post reported in its Sunday edition that government tests using female crash test dummies demonstrate that women are 20 to 40 percent more likely to sustain serious injuries or be killed in head-on accidents at 35 mph. That's in tests conducted in the larger, better-safety-rated Toyota Sienna minivan.
Seems that women, being smaller and anatomically different, are more at risk in certain sorts of front passenger crashes. Not that men are greatly less at risk of serious injury or death in head-on collisions at threshold speeds.
But if women are running higher safety risks in larger vehicles, why, O why would the Obama administration and Washington bureaucrats be working so tirelessly to shoehorn Americans into smaller and smaller cars, like the now nearly defunct Chevy Volt and the Smart Car (or the intuitively Not-So-Smart Car)?
Given that Washington's new findings for women -- and smaller people -- in large vehicle test crashes are worrisome, what says the Obama administration about crashes in more vulnerable compacts and subcompacts?
Are Americans to assume that fuel economy and greening the environment beat auto safety, especially for women? If so, what do President Obama's feminist supporters have to say about the president's push to get Americans (including women) into smaller cars, starting with jacking up gas prices and going after automakers to design and build smaller, lighter autos?
So which is it for Mr. Obama? Satisfying his greenie base or coming down on the side of women's safety on the nation's highways and byways?
Climbing inside Mr. Obama's head (and into the head of any committed leftist ideologue), one appreciates that there are no contradictions or choices between conservation and a green environment on the one hand and vehicle safety on the other.
The left holds a utopian vision of a nation living in densely packed urban communities; suburbs, exurbs, and long work commutes will be history. Walking, riding bikes, and commuting on public transportation will be the preferred modes of getting about. Smart Cars and the like, puttering along city streets at low speeds, will have reduced safety risks.
But Mr. Obama's and the left's utopia is a Candyland, which is about what every utopian vision has been since humans began prowling the earth.
A continent-wide nation of 300 million souls and growing will need more than feet, bikes, and light rails to meet transportation needs. In a nation of people pursuing their unique dreams and interests where they choose, bigger vehicles of all sorts are prerogatives that should be free from Washington's interference.
Uncle Sam needs to get out of the business of social engineering and give automakers the free rein to operate in the marketplace, where automotive engineers can create cars that better meet consumers' needs, including safer vehicles for all Americans.