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Old 08-13-2009, 12:14 PM   #51
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It was a long time ago, but, as I recall the interior didn't have enough soft stuff to save the occupants. This was before air-bags and energy had to be absorbed by things like kick-panels, doors, dashboard and the like.
Well airbags are intended for the MOST severe of collisions where the crumple zone was mostly designed for everything leading up to the most of severe of collisions. I know this may sound confusing but airbags don't really reduce likelihood of injury in collisions that aren't severe. For example, imagine hitting someone in the face with a plastic bottle hard enough to make them break bones, then try to re-imagine hitting the person with the same amount of force but instead with a pillow. Sounds great right? Well, if you're familiar with really bad pillow fights, you'll know that you can still get badly hurt with a pillow if you hit a person hard enough with it. So in a sense, an airbag in the most severe of circumstances can mitigate some damage that a steering wheel could cause due to the low surface area of the wheel but it won't miraculously make something that would have killed you into something that is like as if nothing had ever happened, that instead you just jumped onto your bed and were comforted by your pillow...

Here is another thing to keep in mind, in the US airbags deploy at moderate to severe collisions and are a requirement on cars while in Australia airbags aren't mandatory but if they do deploy, they only deploy in the most severe of collisions. Why? Because Australia has a significantly higher seatbelt wearing rate than the United States, that the real reason why airbags are mandatory and were pushed in the U.S aggressively is because of the high rate of people not wearing their seatbelts. Those crash tests you see where a car is getting 5 stars probably wouldn't have seen much of decline in their star rating if the airbag was removed because of the lack of acceleration of the head against the steering wheel. Now had that car been rated 1 Star, then the airbag would probably mean life or death because the amount of force that the occupant has had with the steering wheel could be enough to kill you and that airbag is that thing that helps you enough to survive since it distributes the strong force over a greater area compared to just a small part of the steering wheel.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:27 AM   #52
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I've typed in all the data from the CDC's 2004 life table (used to compute life expectancy), but I'm having a tough time finding automotive deaths broken down by age (overall rate for occupants is 6.1 / 100,000). Anyone ever come across that information? Once I have that, it'll be easy to create a spreadsheet that computes life expectancy with changes in driving safety.
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co de pen den cy
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:19 PM   #53
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See if your Insurance Agent is good for more than selling policies taking premiums.
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:28 PM   #54
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Good idea! They're already used to strange requests from me.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
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: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 08-16-2009, 10:00 AM   #55
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Here's a link to an interesting graph. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death in people below the age of 40.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:22 AM   #56
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I can find accidental deaths by age group, all the way down to 28 days old or less, but they lump vehicular accidents in there as well.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:55 PM   #57
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Here's a link to an interesting graph. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death in people below the age of 40.

That looks like plain ol' accidents of all forms to me.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:59 PM   #58
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The graphs do show all accidents. The automobile accident stats are from other sources, and are a bit out of date, since we've cut auto fatality numbers down with airbags and mandatory seat belt laws. As of 2007, auto accidents were the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 34.
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Old 08-17-2009, 05:41 AM   #59
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My insurance people had no clue. Not real surprised.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:54 AM   #60
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Yeah, it's probably like asking a car sales person what the BSFC is of an engine.
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