Cognitive Dissonance on Vehicle Safety
In this morning’s Monterey Herald are two articles from the Associated Press, the first co-authored by Ken Thomas and Natasha Metzler and the second co-authored by Ken Thomas and Natasha Metzler.
First article headline: Roadway deaths fall to lowest level since the 1950s.
Sure, you would expect that with the recession on, right? Well, actually, deaths per 100 million miles fell to 1.16 in 2009, down from 1.25 the previous year, an an all-time low.
Second article headline: Toyota troubles spotlight safety agency.
Here’s what the article states that NHTSA head David Strickland said:
Strickland told the panel it was unclear whether the agency can regulate “in a way that allows the industry to build and sell safe products that the consumer wants to drive.”
I don’t fault Thomas much, although it would have been nice for him not to be on autopilot and to have the sense to realize that Strickland’s comment didn’t make sense in light of the fatality data and to, therefore, interview another person for balance, someone, say from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
I do fault Strickland. “Safe products that the consumer wants to drive?” How does he think we choose what to drive now? By buying unsafe products we want to drive? By buying safe products we don’t want to drive? By buying unsafe products we don’t want to drive?