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With all the ranting and raving about airbags, combined with a few previous
comments about "bulky and heavy" US bumpers, a "we've met the enemy and they is
us" opinion, and one "freak accident"; I'll throw in my two cents:
When a car moving at 10 mph hits a concrete barrier low enough to bypass all the
compressible sheet metal/bumpers/etc; then you are going to have significant
damage. You've just had the equivalent of a 10 mph head on collision with the
engine. In the newer (89+ ?) it probably would have activated the Pro-Con-Ten
system. Which would have pulled the seat belts tight. Of course you have to
As far as I can remember, every car with airbags comes with an owners manual. I
think there are warnings about placing children in the front seat. I distinctly
remember warnings saying DO NOT USE A REAR FACING CHILD SEAT! The warnings are
also usually capitalized. Kudos for child seat usage, but use them properly.
The urban legend of placing an infant in a combo carrier/childseat, then putting
the child on the roof, forgetting about the child,and then driving away; is not
what I would call "using a child seat properly". I agree with the option of
being able to turn off the airbag, but I cringe at the thought of the first
lawsuit. "But I didn't know...."
I've tried to fit a euro bumper to my '91 200 20v. I was amazed at how light it
was. I was also surprised to see it bolted directly to the frame, not to the
hydraulic dampers. In an accident, low speed or not, this bumper will be
deformed and then the energy is going into your frame. My neighbor had an A4
with the european bumpers. Someone rear-ended him at very slow (walking) speed.
The only visible damage was a 10 mm hex shaped hole in the plastic -- license
plate bolt. The bumper had to be replaced -- damage to the "honeycomb
structure" of the underlying alloy/Al bumper. Me, I'll take my heavy (and
heavily damped) 5 mph bumpers.
We all want safety, and freedom of choice, and high performance but someone has
got to pay for it. Euro bumpers = light weight = $$$ accidents. No
airbags/auto seat belts = freedom of choice = injuries = $$$ insurance premiums.
If you don't like it, vote for someone who will change the laws to line up with
your thinking. "Injured, no seat belt, and you want who to pay?" "Total your
car because of DUI, and the insurance company buys you a new one?"
I really do wear Nomex at work...