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CLT&G Update
Tuesday, December 15, 1998

Remember when we could call ourselves a free country without the embarrassment of reality creeping in and spoiling the thought?

But government knew best as usual for us and forced us all into seat belts so the auto industry could avoid installing air-bags, that the government was convinced would "save lives." The industry, rightfully, feared lawsuits when the bags deployed without the desired results or when they weren't intended.

But once the federal government -- using federal highway funds as bribery and extortion -- "convinced" the states to adopt mandatory seat belt laws and seat belt roadblocks, it then required the auto industry to install air-bags anyway.

You remember the safety zealots' mantra: "If it saves even one life . . ."

Then the government's expensive "life-saving" air-bags began killing people -- women and children first -- like a dash for the lifeboats in days gone by. Government finally began granting its permission -- on an individual case by case basis -- for vehicle owners to install at their own expense "shut-off switches" on their vehicle's mandated air-bag system.

And now we've come full circle.

A father, convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced in the death of his two-month old son . . . BECAUSE HE FAILED TO TURN OFF THE GOVERNMENT-MANDATED AIR-BAG!!!

Remember when we could call ourselves a free country without the embarrassment of reality creeping in and spoiling the thought?

Remember when . . .

Chip Ford --

Father jailed for not switching off air bag
By Associated Press
Tuesday, December 15, 1998

PARMA, Ohio -- A man who did not switch off an air bag that deployed in an accident and killed his infant son was sentenced yesterday to two 12-hour days in jail -- the boy's birthday and the crash anniversary.

Dwight Childs, 29, is believed to be the first person to have been sentenced for not switching off an air bag, according to the American Automobile Association.

"Anything I do won't matter," Municipal Court Judge Kenneth Spanagel told Childs, who hung his head and grimaced during his sentencing. "Your personal guilt you're going to carry."

Since 1990, air bags have caused the deaths of 121 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency estimates that air bags have also saved 3,600 lives.

Childs pleaded no contest last month to charges of vehicular homicide and running a red light in connection with the death of his 2-month-old son, Jacob.

No law required Childs to disengage the air bag, which deployed after Childs' truck crashed into another truck at an intersection. The boy was strapped into a rear-facing car seat and suffered head injuries.

But prosecutors charged him because his 1997 pickup truck and the boy's car seat had stickers warning that the device should be switched off in such circumstances.

"I believe we counted over a dozen warnings that should have triggered a different response from the driver," said David Toetz, assistant city prosecutor.

A rear-facing infant seat strapped into the front seat puts a baby's head dangerously close to the deploying air bag.

David Van Sickle, an AAA spokesman, said he knew of no one else prosecuted because he did not turn off an air bag.

Prosecutors decided not to press serious charges because Jacob was Childs's only son.

Childs could have been sentenced to seven months in jail and $1,250 in fines if convicted of vehicular homicide and running the red light.

Spanagel fined him $500, suspended his license for three years except for work and other essential trips, and sentenced him to 180 days in jail with 178 days suspended, so long as Childs helps produce public service announcements about air bag safety.

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