I just read the news release sent over to us by our friends at ASA (Automotive Service Association) announcing that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced S. 2559, a bill to expand the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) authority to recall unsafe vehicles and increase funding for automobile safety. (Read the full release here)
Obviously, this is in response to the massive GM (and other) recalls we’ve been seeing over the last several months. But will it really improve vehicle (and occupant) safety or does it only address the aftermath? And what about the safety issues that the consumers themselves allow to happen?
If you work on cars for a living, especially in a state with no mandatory vehicle safety inspection program, you know what I’m getting at. I can’t count the number of times I’ve lifted a vehicle up in the air to find bald tires, worn out brakes and seriously loose steering/suspension components. And how many cars do you see every day that are missing one or more brake lights, or are driving down the highway with shattered windshields?
I’m not usually an advocate of government intervention, but in this case I think we need to lobby for more. We need a uniform safety inspection program across this country to protect the innocents. Hey, if someone want to drive around on bald tires with no brakes, I don’t want to hear it when they come crying after the crash. That is their individual choice and if they were driving alone on the road, I would have no problem with it and couldn’t care less.
But these drivers don’t drive alone. Their kids are in the backseat and they are driving in front, behind or beside my family and yours. Their blowout could injure others who had no say so in their choice to drive an ill-maintained car.
Driving is not a right, it’s a priviledge. If they can’t afford to keep their cars safe, then I’m sorry…that’s too bad. Take a bus instead. And regulation of some sort is needed to make sure that the roads are safe for everyone. At least as safe as we can make them.