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October 02, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-10-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Eier 3frIyigan Pauh
Eighty-one years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

reporter's notebook
Children's car seats: Safety last
jonathan miller

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor; Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



Uniting on the research issue

FTER WRESTLING with the question
for six months, Senate Assembly fin-
ally seems ready to chart an effective
course of action aimed at resolving the
debate over classified research at t h e
Last Monday, a majority of the faculty
representative body appeared to have
come to terms with the thorny issue. Hav-
ing considered virtually all points of
view - during several of the most well-
argued and wide-ranging debates in re-
cent University history - Assembly
members indicated support for one par-
ticular line of reasoning: That it is gen-
erally inconsistent with the goals of a
university to engage in research whose
results are not open to the academic
By a vote of 31-15, Assembly deciqed
to give its primary consideration to a
propos'al that the University shall not,
in general, enter into or renew "federal
contracts or grants that limit open pub-
lication of the results of research."
The proposal, authored by sociology
Prof. Howard Schuman, will come before
the faculty representatives for a final
vote Monday night. And if they main-
tain the view expressed last week, both
major segments of the University com-
munity - students and faculty members
- will have gone on record as opposing
the continuation of on-campus classified
rJ"HE STUDENT BODY'S opposition to
such research was formally expressed
last March, when a referendum urging
the University t,) ban classified projects
passed by a 3-2 margin.
Editorial Staff
Executive Editor Managing Editor
STEVE KOPPMAN .. Editorial Page Editor
RICK PERLOFF .. Associate Editorial Page Editor
PAT MAHONEY .... Assistant Editorial Page Editor
LYNN WEINER .. Associate Managing Editor
LARRY LEMPERT . .. . Associate Managing Editor
ANITA CRONE .... ..... .. ..........Arts Editor
JIM IRWIN ........ ......... Associate Arts Editor
JANET FREY ... .......... . . . . Personnel Director
JIM JUDKIS............. .....Photography Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Rose Sue Berstein, Lindsay
Chaney, Mark Dillen, Sara Fitzgerald, Tammy
Jacobs, Alan Lenhoff, Jonathan Miller, Hester
Pulling, Carla Rapoport, Robert Schreiner, W.E.
Schrock, Geri Sprung.
COPY EDITORS: Art Lerner, Debra Thal.
DAY EDITORS: Pat Bauer, Linda Dreeben, Jim
Irwin, Hannah Morrison, Chris Parks, Gene Robin-
son, Zachary Schiller.
Conn, John Mitchell, Beth Oberfelder, Kristin
Ringstrom, Kenneth Schulze, Tony Schwartz, Jay
Sheyevitz, Gloria Jane Smith. Sue Stark, Ted
Stein, Paul Travis, Marcia Zoslaw.
Sports Staff
MORT NOVECK, Sports Editor
JIM KEVRA, Executive Sports Editor
RICK CORNFELD . Associate Sports Editor
TERRIPOUCHEY. Contributing Sports Editor
BETSY MAHON .. .... Senior Night Editor
SPORTS NIGHT EDITORS: Bill Alterman. Bob An-
drews, Sandi Genis, Joel Greer, Elliot Legow.
John Papanek, Randy Phillips, Al Shackelford.
Business Staff
JAMES STOREY, Business Manager
RICHARD RADCLIFFE......... Advertising Manager
SUZANNE BOSCHAN ..... ..... Sales Manager
JOHN SOMMERS....... .. .... .. Finance Manager
ANDY GOLDING Circulation Director
DEPARTMENT MANAGERS: Bill Abbott-Display Adv.;
Rebecca Van Dyke-Classified Adv.; Fran Hymen
-National Adv.; Harry Hirsch-Layout.
ASSOCIATE MANAGERS: Alan Klein, Donna Sills,
Judy Cassel.
ASSISTANT MANAGERS: Paul Wenzloff, Steve Evseef,
Ashlish Sarkar, Dave Lawson.

Senate Assembly, meanwhile, was hesi-
tant to act without first conducting an
in-depth study of the question. That
sudy took Assembly's Research Policies
Committee the entire summer, and was
presented to the faculty representatives
last Monday.
But although the committee's final
report recommended only minor changes
in current University policy on classified
research, the majority of Assembly had
by then decided that a more sweeping
measure was required to effectively re-
solve the issue.
Assembly's view is easily justified by
the history of the classified research con-
Three years ago, when the propriety of
having classified research at the Univer-
sity was first questioned, the faculty and
the Regents decided to continue such re-
search except when its "specific purpose"
was death or injury to human beings.
The ostensible intention was to get the
University out of the business of develop-
ing weapons, and Assembly named a
Classified Research Committee to review
research proposals with this in mind.
BUT OVER THE LAST year, the Univer-
sity community has learned that de-
spite the 1968 guidelines, on-campus
classified research has continued to be a
prime contributor to the development of
modern military technology.
The ultimate use of this classified re-
search remained a secret between the re-
searcher and the defense department, -
with the University community only
learning much later'of the more effec-
tive weaponry that the research spawn-
And it seems likely that if the Uni-
versity continues to allow certain re-
search to be conducted under a veil of
secrecy, some of this research will con-
tinue to be of a nature that comprom-
ises the integrity of this 'nstitution.
That is what Assembly members seem-
ed to recognize last week. They maintain-
ed that the establishment of a general
policy against the acceptance of classi-
fied research projects, students and fa-
culty members can be assured that this
institution's mission - the enhancement
of human welfare - would not be easily
seem to indicate that this is the pre-
vailing viewpoint among Assembly mem-
bers, Monday's meeting is not likely to be
merely a cut-and-dried reaffirmation of
that viewpoint.
Faculty members on both sides of the
issue are expected to offer amendments
to the Schumanproposal. It is indeed
wise to perfect the proposed policy as
much as possible but Assembly members
should carefully avoid modifying the pro-
posal so that it no longer effectively pro-
tects the integrity of the University.
Passed in its present form, the Schuman
proposal would allow the University com-
munity to firmly unite on this difficult
issue. And as the debate moves to a new
arena - the October and November Re-
gents meetings - the presence of a
strong mandate from both segments of
the academic community would assuredly
prompt a swift conclusion to the classi-
fied research controversy.

MANY OF THE estimated two million
car seats sold annually to protect
children in this country from death or ser-
ious injury in automobile accidents are
"essentially useless," according to auto-
motive safety experts at the University.
Despite the implementation of new fed-
eral standards for car seats last April,
many pre-standard seats remain legally
on sale on the shelves of 'the nation's re-
tailers, according to government spokes-
men. Others, though they meet the stand-
ards, remain ",dangerously inadequate," ac-
cording to safety specialists.
Car seats are necesary ,because regular
vehicle seat belts are not recommended
for use by children of less than 40 lbs, the
weight of an average four year-old.
The root of the problem, believes Dr.
Verne L. Roberts, who heads a team of re-
searchers at the University's H i g h w a y
Safety Research Institute, is the lack of
effective standards governing the manu-
facture of such seats.
Roberts, who is regarded as one of the
nation's foremost experts in his field, says
that manufacturers objections played a
major role in the creation of the test
standards for the seats, which he feels
are an inadequate measure of their effec-
NO ONE KNOWS how many children
die each- year as a result of ineffective car
seats, but the overall automobile accident
death figures for children of between one
and four years-old make gruesome read-
Aside from those injured or killed as
pedestrians, approximately 1,000 children
are killed annually in car crashes. Pedia-
tricians estimate that as many as 250.000
more may be disabled or seriously injured.
Dr. Seymour Charles of Irvington, New
Jersey - president of the 400-member
Physicians for Automotive Safety - says
he believes. as many as half of these
deaths could be avoided if parents would
use effective seating restraint systems for
their children.
But ironically, though there are good
child restraint systems on the market ac-
cording to the research conducted at the
University, they account for only a tiny
proportion of the total sales of these pro-
ducts, estimated by manufacturers and ex-
perts at between one and a half and two
million units per year.
Though the annual sale of so many car
seats, at prices ranging from about $13-25,
would seem to encompass almost half of
the nation's annual births, Dr. Charles is
skeptical that very much protection at all
is afforded to America's young.
Due to a combination of parental ignor-
ance and neglect, Dr. Charles says, auto-
mobile accidents pose a greater threat to
children than any of the infectious dis-
"The problem is more basic than that
the seats are inadequate," Dr. Charles
says, "it is that the vast majority of Amer-
icans are using no restraint devices at all."
Dr. Charles speculates that "most of
the seats sold each year just sit in some-
one's garage."
DEBATE ON THE car seat question
hinges on the word "effective."

--Courtesy of Bunny Bear Company

Manufacturers of the seats feel embit-
tered by the criticism of Dr. Roberts and
his team, saying their. industry is gen-
uinely trying to upgrade standards and
improve the effectiveness of their pro-
"Its a mistake to say that what is on
sale now is simply no good," declares Mr.
Samuel Linden, executive vice-president
of the Bunny Bear Co. of Everett, Mass.
Bunny Bear makes about 250,000 car seats
annually, according to Mr. Linden.
"None of us are 100 per cent satis-
fied," Linden explains, "but what we've
got now is better than nothing at all -
which is the situation we were in before
April.'r l
Mr. Charles Dietrich, a Cambridge, Mass.
research engineer who helped represent
members of the Juvenile Products Manu-
facturers Association during the period of
"rulemaking" before the setting of the
federal standards, concurs.
"Though I would agree that the stand-
ard does not go as far now as I hope it
will in the future, the manufacturers now
make a product that provides children
with the same amound of protection as an
adult receives from a lap belt," s a y s
He regards all seats meeting the federal
standard as adequate for protecting child-
Dr. Roberts could not disagree with him
"The vast majority of seats being sold
are essentially useless, and the federal
standards dangerously inadequate, he
Roberts bases his objections to the
standards on the procedures which they
use to test the effectiveness of seats.

"The standard consists of a simple static
test," says Dr. Roberts. "A child seat is
subjected to 1,000 lbs. of force and if it
moves less than a foot it's free to be
He argues instead for the use of a "dy-
namic test" standard. This test procedure,
he states, "simulates tie stresses found in
real acidents."
The dynamic test used by Dr. Roberts
and his team of researchers consists of
strapping a child-size dummy of up to 40
lbs. on an impact sled and then crashing
the sled into obstacles at speeds of up to
30 m.p.h.
Dr. Roberts says he has tested 37 seats
in this manner and found all but a few
to be essentially useless.
"Frankly, I'm frustrated by the ways
things have gone," says Dr. Roberts. "We
strongly recommended to the government
that a dynamic test be the standard, but
I'm afraid the objections of the manufac-
turers played a major role in the establish-
ment of a static test."
NEITHER the manufacturers, nor the
government, denies this,
Mr. Gil L. Watson, a consumer affairs
officer with the Department of Trans-
portation, readily concedes that manufac-
tuners' objections played a decisive role in
the decision not to write dynamic test-
ing into the standard.
"But it doesn't matter who makes the
objection." Mr. Gil argues, "as long as the
objection is_. valid - and the objection
was valid."
Gil feels that dynamic testing is only
"in the stone age," as a science and that
although impact sled tests for adults have

been conducted for many years, tests us-
ing child sized dumies are comparatively
new - thus the decision to rely on static
Mr. Dietrich bases his major objections
to dynamic testing on cost factors. "Most
of the manufacturers of these seats -
members of the juvenile product manu-
facturers association - are small com-
panies." he explains. "Dynamic testing
runs into thousands of dollars w h i 1 e
static tests cost only hundreds," he says.
Dr. Charles, while agreeing with Dr.
Roberts that "today's seats are not per-
fect." warns against over-attentionto ,the
static vs. dynamic test issue.
"The standards have eliminated some
of the more dangerous devices," he says.
Seats that hooked over the back of the
cars regular seats and those with toy
steering wheels are especially hazardous,
Dr. Charles says. and these may no long-
er be manufactured. though remaining
stocks may still be sold.
Dr. Charles warns that parents who al-
low children to travel in cars without re-
straint are doing their offspring no fav-
"There are effective devices available,"
Dr. Charles insists, and his group recom-
mends three types for general use.
0 The safety seat: Acceptable seats are
anchored to the vehicle by the automobiles
regular seat belts. They are equipped with
a full harness to distribute collision forces
over the child's body;
The protective shield: The shield con-
sists of a large plastic device which is
strapped in front of the child, acting as
a buffer in collisions. Dr. Roberts found
this device to be the most acceptable for
use with children over 25 lbs;
* The safety carrier: This device, manu-
factured by General Motors, is designed
for very young children of less than 25
lbs. The child travels in a reclining posi-
tion, facing the rear of the automobile.
All of these devices must be secured to
the vehicle with the cars regular seat belts
to be effective.
Devices in which the infant is direct-
ly restrained by an auto seat belt are not
recommended, says Dr. Charles.
Dr. Roberts finds only two of these de-
vices to be- really effective, however, and
even these, he stresses, have some short-
They are the protective shield, made by
the Ford Motor Company and marketed
under the brand name Totguard, and the
G.M. safety carrier.
But these two devices, sold through Ford
and G.M. dealers, share only a very small
portion of the market for car restraint
According to figures released by the
auto manufacturers,, Ford sold only 8,500
of its protective shields last year while GM
has sold only about 66,000 carriers since
introducing them in June 1969.
MEANWHILE, Dr. Roberts says, "most
of these seats are good for watching tele-
vision from - just as long as there isn't
a television in the car."
Copyright ), 1971



nu mmmmmmmmmm ma 111X1111Rl~S
WaC your step-crack stepping is immoral
by lind~say chamney

4ONE AFTERNOON last week I
was sitting on the wall in
front of the Union waiting for
the bus to North Campus. An
elderly, woman standing next to
me suddenly gave a groan and
sighed, "disgusting, how can they
do it?"
A young man in patched blue
jeans, a work shirt, and shoulder-
length hair was walking by, en-
twined with a young woman sim-
ilarly dressed.
Since the elderly woman ap-
peared to be speaking to me, I
gave a shrug and mumbled a neu-
tral comment.

They get worse and worse all
the time," she said.
I didn't say anything.
A minute later she gave a gurgle
and muttered, "another one."
THIS TIME, a man in blue
jeans with moderately long hair
and a. barefoot woman in shorts
were both passing simultaneously
and independently, so I wasn't
sure to which person she was re-
ferring. I mumbled, "huh" and
hoped the bus would come pretty
A moment later, the elderly
woman sputtered "there ought to

Letters to The Daily:. Harris on registration

be a law," in a voice which made
me think she might be having a
heart attack.
This time the person passing by
- whom she was giving an ex-
tremely dirty look - was a prom-
inent professor from the school
of business administration.
The professor was dressed in a
business suit and seemed the quin-
tessence of establishment proprie-
Somewhat puzzled at this
point, I ventured to comment "he
certainly seems well dressed."
"Those commies are a I w a y s
well-dressed," the woman snapped.
"Yeah, I suppose so," I. said.
A FEW SECONDS later she
gave a w~himper and seemed ready
to collapse when tan ordinary-
looking mailman walked by.
"It's really terrible," I said, fig-
uring this was a pretty s a f e
"And don't I know it," s h e
replied, seeming slightly relieved
that someone sympathized with
her problems. "It seems to be get-
ting worse and worse every year."
"I've noticed a lot of it re-
cently," I said.
"It's so ... well, so IMMORAL,"
she sighed.
"I know what you mean," I said,
not knowing at all.
"I just don't understand it,"
she said, shaking her head. "There
seem to be so many people step-
ping on cracks."

To The Daily:
ANN ARBOR'S City Clerk, Mr.
Harold Saunders, is conducting a
registration drive this fall which
has so far succeeded in adding
nearly 5000 new voters to the re-
gistration list. By providing con-
venient places and 'times for re-
gistration, he has expanded the
services usually offered by h i s
office. We assume that Mr. Saun-
ders will take whatever additional
steps are necessary before the
next general election to see that
the newly enfranchised voters are
registered to the same extent as
the rest of the voting population.
The leadership of the Ann Ar-
bor Democratic Party supports
Mr. Saunders in his efforts to ex-

innovative person following the
next election."
To The Daily:
AS I AM SURE you are aware,
there is a massive street renova-
tion being undertaken in the vi-
cinity of Washtenaw and Forest in
which Observatory Street is to be
extended and joined to S o u t h
University. In the triangle of land
partially bounded by Washtenaw
and Forest is a group of trees. Of
these, one tree is particularly
It is a magnificent oak better
than three feet in diameter with
an expansive crown. This t r e e
-+ -.a ,, +h '- a f la rn

could be possible to route one lane
of the street on either side of the
tree. This may require extensive
modifications and some additional
expense, but it is possible.
Here is a small portion of the
environment that might be saved
if enough people become actively
concerned. If anyone is interested
in helping or wishes to express
support, call me at 769-1514.
-Landy Doyle, Grad.
Oct. 1
Angela Davis
To The Daily:
IT IS DIFFICUT to imagine a
more inane editorial than "The
Case for Angela Davis." (Daily,
Sept. 29).

Governor Rockefeller was right
in signing the affadavit so quick-
ly. Indeed, it should be an auto-
matic gesture to extradite a fugi-
tive who appears to be involved
in such a bloody incident as the
shootout in Marin County.
As for the whole case being a
frame-up for Davis, I find it dif-
ficult to believe that the govern-
ment stole her guns and gave
them to Jackson after organizing
the entire affair just to imprison
Angela Davis should be given a
swift and impartial trial; that is
as soon as the defense stops de-
manding that each judge selected
to preside over the hearings dis-
qualify himself. If Davis is found

"Maybe." I said.
"I think it started with t h e
college kids," she said. "Its part
of a breakdown in the moral fab-
ric of our country. And now, even
people like that man in the suit
a dning it"

-Daily-Jim Judkis
permissiveness out in the r e a l
"Of course, the next thing you
know, someone will probably be
agitating to legalize it. Can y o u
imagine that? But then. w i t h


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