How Cars Keep Americans Safe | CNBC Marathon
Car safety was once an afterthought, but now automakers brag about their safety ratings from groups like IIHS or NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program. The journey to this has been long, and in some cases, controversial. Fierce battles have been fought over whether automakers should have to stock cars with safety equipment, such as airbags, and whether people should be forced to wear seatbelts.
Next, cars today are filled with airbags - many of which are not even required by law. Though the U.S. government credits airbags with saving tens of thousands of lives, there was once a real battle over whether they should be required equipment in cars. Safety advocates and insurance companies loved the devices, but skeptics, free market advocates and the auto industry bemoaned the cost of compliance and highlighted the dangers of the new technology. Indeed airbags were connected with a large number of deaths, mostly among children. Later, airbags would be at the center of the Takata scandal, the largest recall in history. Despite these setbacks automakers are now devising new airbag designs to reduce risks of injury even further.
Lastly, crash test dummies are meant to mimic human bodies in crashes, and show where cars need to be made safer. They are also huge investments - an absolutely stripped down legacy model will start at $100,000 and the latest crash test dummies run closer to $1,000,000. While they have come a long way from primitive designs, the latest generation is meant to better resemble humans in their different forms. New dummies are also packed with sensors and other tech. But some institutions are not signing on yet.
CNBC Marathon brings together the best of CNBC’s coverage on the car safety industry.
00:36 How the U.S. decides what makes a car “safe” (Published March 2022)
17:37 The controversial history of the airbag (Published March 2022)
30:28 Building the $1 million crash test dummy (Published March 2022)
Sun, 30 Oct 2022 14:00:07 GMT