Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2358 Crash Dummies

Sometimes it seems like the whole world and everything we depend on is crashing around us. Or into us.

Take airbags. Those things automakers resisted putting in, and safety advocates insisted were needed as people were too lazy to fasten themselves in with seat belts. Now it turns out the airbags themselves are unsafe.

At least if you define unsafe as being hit by flying shrapnel.

Seems the Takata company, who makes airbags for auto companies, had a little quality control problem and now over 7 million cars from two dozen different car manufacturers are being recalled because they can malfunction.

The problem causes the airbag's metal inflator to burst open due to excessive pressure and shoot metal parts at unsuspecting riders trapped by both the airbag itself and their seatbelts. Good news for us northwesterners, the problem seems to be worse in humid climates. Glad it's never wet around here...

But there's some good driving news. America, as we all know, has a bit of an obesity problem, and while that hasn't yet forced airplane companies to ease the cattle car crowding of coach class, leading to more than one battle of the elbow-rest being settled by adipose spillover, it has finally alerted safety folks.

In response to that growing problem, the world's leading crash test dummy maker, Humanetics, is offering a new, improved, obese model.  Which, if you've seen a recent picture of the musical group Crash Test Dummies, only makes sense. They illustrate we've all picked up a few pounds. (BTW -- I also heard the Fine Young Cannibals are now vegetarians.)

Anyhow, the average size of current crash test dummies is 167 pounds. Humanetics is making a new one that's 273 with a BMI of 35.

It looks like it swallowed an airbag. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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