mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Should we make cars out of cast iron?

Via autoblog comes this Detroit Free Press article about a $48.8 million jury award for a woman killed in a Dodge Caravan that was hit head on by a Jeep being upheld.

The comments are mostly in agreement with the outlandish size of the verdict, and the fact that no car manufacturer can make a perfectly safe car. Except for one commenter, who had this to say:

You seem to be advocating a world where manufacturers effectively get away scott free, since if you're the victim, it must obviously be your fault somehow for picking the wrong product.

Umm, except that in this case, the manufacturer didn't "f*ck up", as you so elequently state. No car can be accident-proof, unless it's made of solid cast iron and only goes 1mph. In the real world, cost-benefit analysis is necessary, and that means that if we want cars with decent gas milage, performance, and cost, we need cars where the chances of dying is a nonzero number.

Back when the judgement came in, Overlawyered took a good look at the case, and even has links to pics of the cars. Keep in mind that:

-the car was hit nearly head-on at 45mph by a Jeep driven by a kid who fell asleep at the wheel. That's a lot of force.

-The driver wasn't killed by the impact, but rather the impact of the unbelted backseat passenger hitting her.

I don't see any reason to think this was caused by any negligence on the part of Chrysler, but rather by the KID WHO HIT HER AT 45MPH.


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