Safety Sells: Market Forces and Regulation
in the Development of Airbags
by Martin Albaum

Sections are in PDF format and require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader


Title Page



Chapter 1: Automobile Safety Becomes a Federal Affair

  • The Automobile Redefines America
  • Automobile and Highway Safety
  • The Automobile Industry Reacts to New Safety Ideas
  • Political Rumblings
  • The Broader Environment and Climate of Opinion
  • Federal Auto Safety Standards Are Mandated
  • The Origins of Airbags
  • Summary
Chapter 2: Getting to the First Automatic Occupant Crash Protection Standard: 1966-1970
  • The Original Occupant Crash Protection Standard: Seat Belts
  • The Airbag Issue Emerges
  • The First Steps Toward Standards Involving Airbags
  • The First Proposed Standard for Passive Restraints
  • Reactions to the Proposed Rule
  • The Rule is Modified
  • Summary
Chapter 3: Positions Harden: 1971-1976
  • Another “Final” Occupant Restraint Rule
  • A Presidential Intervention and Another Delay
  • Airbag Research and Testing: 1970-1972
  • A Major Court Ruling
  • The Seat Belt Alternative
  • Redefining Passive Restraint Standards and Other Delays
  • Reaction to the Interlock
  • James Gregory and the Passive Restraint Debate
  • 1975: Another Year of Debate and Delay
  • Coleman Takes Over
  • Summary
Chapter 4: A Standard Emerges Temporarily: 1977-1980
  • Reopening the Passive Restraint Standard
  • A “Final” Passive Restraint Standard
  • Restraint Developments Following Adams’ Decision
  • The Battle of the Passives
  • Congressional Interventions
  • Summary
Chapter 5: How An Airbag Standard Finally Succeeded in a Period of Deregulation
  • Regulatory Relief for Auto Manufacturers
  • Keeping Airbags Alive After Rescission
  • The Courts Intervene
  • New Leaders at DOT and Another Review
  • DOT Explores New Possibilities
  • Mrs. Dole’s Decision
  • Manipulating the “Trapdoor”
  • The Spread of Driver-Side Airbags
  • Consumer Reaction and Accident Experience
  • Summary
Chapter 6: The Consequences of the Airbag Rule: 1989-2002
  • The Market Overtakes the Automatic Protection Rule
  • More Regulations: A Performance Standard Replaced by a Technological Standard
  • The Growth of Seat Belt Use
  • Evaluating Driver Airbags
  • Injuries and Deaths From Airbags
  • Attitudes Toward Airbags
  • The Effectiveness of Passenger Airbags
  • The Early Regulatory Response to Airbag Injuries
  • Seat Belt Use As a Solution to Airbag Injuries
  • Defining Advanced Airbags
  • Trends in Airbag Fatalities and Injuries
  • Summary
Chapter 7: Conclusions
  • How Successful Have Airbag Standards Been?
  • Would Economic Forces Have Been More Efficient Than Regulation in Making
  • Airbags Available?
  • How Can the Motor Vehicle/Highway Safety Regulatory Process be Made More Effective?
  •      -Scope
  •      -Speed
  • Testing Assumptions
  • Regulatory Criteria
  •      -The Preference for Performance Standards
  •      -Comparing Costs and Benefits
  •      -Public Acceptability
  •      -Should Some People Be Given More Crash Protection than Others?
  • The Superiority of Automatic Protection
  • Assumptions About Behavior
  • The Politics of Airbag Regulation
  •      -Presidential Intervention
  •      -The Political Course of Airbag Regulation


(Sections are in PDF format and require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader)