* too much safety

Topics: Safety
23 Jan 1993


Reinhard was discussing the other evening about a friend of his he
did some kayaking with. Helmets for this were very expensive because
half of the cost was liablility insurance for the manufactures. So,
people don't wear them and even less safe.

Another case that came to mind is when the FAA
(Federal Aviation Administration) passed rules requiring that children
always have a separate seat on an airplane, even when they are young
enough to not need one. Presumably this was for their safety. The
effect was that by doubling (in many cases) the cost of flying, people
drove instead thus causing many more injuries to children (since
driving is less safe than flying). There are specific studies to back
this up. 'Safety' was a canard in any case. The airlines lobbied
the FAA to pass this rule just so they could get more passengers.
A government agency actually protecting the public instead of the
industry would be a first

The FDA is another example. It's mandate is to prevent
dangerous drugs from coming to market. It is not in a position
to let something dangerous be approved even though the benefit
might outweigh the risk. That's not its job. The number of useful
drugs that could have saved lives that don't come to the market
cause more deaths than what is saved by preventing risky drugs
from being used. Again, there are specific studies to back this up;
it isn't just my babbling.