“Maryland considering mandatory helmets for drivers”

by Walter Olson on April 1, 2013

Given the bossiness of the legislature in Annapolis these days, I had to check the calendar on this one. [Anita Park, Greater Greater Washington, April 1]

P.S. And from The Onion, where every day is April 1: “Mississippi Bans Soft Drinks Smaller Than 20 Ounces.

Yet more: Didn’t Ilya Shapiro predict this? “Supreme Court upholds same-sex marriage as a tax” [Tax Foundation]

{ 12 comments }

1 delurking 04.01.13 at 12:08 pm

The amusing part is, of course, that helmets for drivers would save a lot more lives than helmets for cyclists.

2 Andrew_M_Garland 04.02.13 at 12:53 am

Yes, helmets would reduce head trauma from deploying air bags. But they might increase neck trauma by presenting a bigger target for the air bag to thrust the head violently backward.

How would people use cellphones when wearing a helmet? Possibly the speakers could be built in.

How could women apply makeup while wearing a helmet?

How could I glance backward to check for cars when changing lanes?

There are many more factors to consider here. Passing the law first would be the best way to get data on these factors.

3 aaaa 04.02.13 at 7:45 am

Compared to helmets for cyclists (which seem to have strong support also on this site), helmets for drivers would be more effective and save more lives. Yes, there are studies on that.

4 delurking 04.02.13 at 8:55 am

:-)
You are obviously a veteran of the helmet wars.

5 John Burgess 04.02.13 at 9:07 am

@Andrew_M_Garland: 360° cameras projecting on a heads-up display on the helmet’s face screen. You could actually put all the data from the dashboard there.

Except that helmets would obviate the purpose of convertibles, I’d do it!

6 Jim Collins 04.02.13 at 9:53 am

A five point harness would save more lives than the current contraption called a seat belt. Properly designed it would be more comfortable and would negate the need for air bags.

7 Jim 04.02.13 at 12:09 pm

Perfect 4/1 post. Just believable enough to make you wonder…

8 Ron Miller 04.02.13 at 1:09 pm

Maybe Jim. The hard part is getting people to change what they are accustomed to, I guess.

Helmets would save a lot of lives. I’m not sure I would not have supported the rule when Mr. Ford started firing out Model-Ts. But it is not possible to change people’s habits now and there would be that whole problem of the blogosphere exploding.

9 John Burgess 04.02.13 at 2:02 pm

Wouldn’t wearing helmets 24/7 reduce fatalities?

Slipping in the tub; falling down the stairs; stumbling on broken pavement; falling out of bed… people die from these accidents every year!

How, after all, can you put a value on a human life?

10 Jim 04.02.13 at 2:10 pm

Driving around in a tank would save lives, particularly mine. It would be a tad tough on the other end.

Helmets would no doubt have both positive and negative tradeoffs too.

The kneejerk support of such ideas in the press is often more dangerous than the problem they address.

11 Ron Miller 04.02.13 at 2:54 pm

John, I agree with you on this issue but not on your logic. Of course, we could always do more and we draw the line short of the maximum level of safety. Where I disagree with you is that it does not follow that just because things could be taken to a further extreme does not automatically every idea to improve safety. Under your logic, we should not have child safety seats because we could always take it further and make them wear helmets. Why have police when we could always have a Gestapo that could make us even safer? is not a good argument in favor of eliminating police, right?

12 John Burgess 04.02.13 at 5:39 pm

@Ron Miller: I’m not suggesting substitution here. It’s all additional. Seatbelts + helmets (+ iron sides to vehicles + 24 airbags + whatever, maybe halon fire extinguishers build into the engine compartment and gas tank?)

It’s all incremental.

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